From living in a caravan to rubbing shoulders with royalty

Chris Ingram has endured something of a rollercoaster ride through his career - things are definitely on the up now

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Even Chris Ingram has to smile at the story. The incongruity of it. To go from living in a caravan to having Monegasque royalty at your birthday party in three years, it’s the stuff of dreams. It doesn’t happen.

Except it does. Ingram’s pictures of H.S.H. Prince Albert, Sovereign Prince of Monaco, joining him to pull the covers from a Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 went viral. And had the rally world scratching its head last week.

“I’ve got some connections in Monaco,” the 2019 European Rally Champion told DirtFish. “Things have come together again for me. I was introduced to a company called Suisscourtage last year. They’re a firm which insure superyachts, that kind of thing. They’re part of the JV Pastor Group, which is one of the biggest in Monaco. They were interested in sponsoring us and here we are.”

And there he was, unveiling a car resplendent in the Principality’s red and white colours (it might have been all about Monaco – but there is more than a hint of Marlboro to the livery). But the Prince thing?

To think, three years ago I was living in a caravan. Chris Ingram

“He’s connected with the sponsor,” added Ingram. “It was just amazing to have him there. He’s such a nice guy – we were watching the Manchester City game together on TV last week and, yeah, he came to my birthday last year.”

It’s almost like being in a parallel universe. And a very cool one.

“It’s mad,” he said. “To think, three years ago I was living in a caravan.”

Looking ahead to this week’s Monte, Ingram added: “The car looks stunning; what a way to start the season! This is a hell of an opportunity for me. We were trying to get this car last year, but we had to use the old one. This one feels great straight away. I did a test on Sunday and got around 40 or 50 kilometers in the dry. I was really impressed with it. It’s looking good for this year, we’ve got the right car and we’ve got an engineer from Škoda.

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After watching Ingram's beloved City together, Prince Albert joined the European champion to unveil his new Škoda in Monaco

“At the moment we are focusing on this event (Monte Carlo), so we haven’t confirmed anything beyond that – we’ll see how things go, but so far so good. I would like to do the full [WRC2] season, but let’s see.

“To be honest I’m just so happy that I’ve got a chance again.”