Youngest Driver Learns in Latvia
2014 started with new experiences all round for Chris Ingram – the 2013 John Easson Award Winner for UK Young Rally drivers. His first time driving on snow, first time in Latvia and first time driving on studded tyres, and they wouldn’t at first even fit under the Twingos little wheel arches!
After just 3.5kms of testing on snow and studded tyres for the first time Chris Ingram and Carl Williamson started the first ever round of the FIA ERC Junior championship. Nerves were tingling as the stages on the recce were not snow covered so the biggest worry was going to be running out of studs. Thankfully, After an ice cold opening ceremony, by the banks of the frozen river, the snow fell.
The Brits had a clean run on the first stage of the event, setting a top 10 fastest time in the Juniors, but were left with almost slicks on the ice of stage two after an overshoot ripping the studs out of the tyres
The learning experiences continued throughout the first day as a puncture was picked up early into the final, but monster 30-kilometre night stage. A bad decision to drive to the end of the stage was made by Chris, which worsened the condition of the tyre and wheel nocking the brake caliper and ripping the fluid pipe off, resulting in no brakes to make the day even more frustrating for the whole team!
Day 2 consisted of a mix of tight and twisty, and fast flowing stages. Young Ingram settled down after a frantic first day and began to enjoy the incredible experience that is driving on ice with studded tyres. The highlight of the event was the final stage of the rally, the 26 kilometre Liepaja stage, which saw the Twingo overcome brake issues to fly to 5th fastest Junior car, being beaten by the eventual winner Jan Cerny and three scandinavian snow experts. A great positive and confidence boost to take from a difficult rally for the ERC’s youngest driver.
“Despite all the issues we have had to tackle, I am still so happy to have competed on such a incredible rally! Taking an early 5 points to the Circuit of Ireland could be very important. I was very happy to set 5th fastest time on one of our few clean stages on the final stage and this shows how much I learnt and improved throughout the weekend”
The 2013 John Easson Award winner Chris Ingram would like to thank Carl Williamson, JB Malherbe Racing Spirit, Renault Sport, FIA ERC and everyone that supported him on his winter rally debut!
The next round of the ERC Junior is Ingram’s favourite; the Circuit of Ireland (17-19 April)