Q&A with Chris Ingram

At just 19 years old, Chris Ingram became the youngest winner of the Colin McRae ERC Flat Out Trophy on last year’s Circuit of Ireland Rally – after a performance described by Citroën WRC driver Kris Meeke as “absolutely outstanding”. Twelve months on, we asked the young Manchester-based Peugeot UK driver about his hopes and aims for this year’s event.

The Circuit of Ireland is your ‘home’ round of the ERC – but how well do you know the stages and what home advantage, if any, will you have?

“Northern Ireland is overseas for me, and maybe Ypres is even closer! But the Irish stages are incredible and I love the style of fast, flowing and bumpy roads that the Circuit of Ireland offers.”

You made a great start to your ERC Junior campaign on unfamiliar territory in Latvia. How important is a good result in Ireland, and what result will make you happy?

“My ERC Junior championship will really begin once we get to Ireland. I made some mistakes in Latvia but we still scored some good back-up points. I’ve lead the R2 class on the Circuit both times I’ve competed before misfortune, so I hope it’s a case of third time lucky and we can see the finish line this time with a podium.”

ERC Junior has the biggest entry ever in Ireland, so the competition will be fierce. Who do you predict will be your toughest rivals?

“Eurosport Events has provided a superb championship for young drivers, which is now proven with 19 ERC Junior crews going to Ireland. All of the Irish guys should be fast because they are bonkers!”

What will be your tactical strategy for the Circuit of Ireland?

“I hope to control my rally this year, instead of going faster and faster until a crash is inevitable! More than half of the ERC Juniors went out in Latvia, so I think Ireland could be a similar situation as some of the stages are unforgiving.”

How well do you think your Peugeot UK-supported 208 R2 will be suited to the bumpy Irish asphalt lanes?

“I’m so excited to pilot the 208 on these roller-coaster Irish roads! The chassis is brilliant and will suit the jumps and bumps. I remember last year that I spent more time in the air than on the Tarmac in the little Twingo, but the Peugeot is much more stable and lands big jumps better and safer.”