Speedworks show Northern Soul on 'most competitive weekend to-date'

14-Jul-2015

Speedworks Motorsport maintained its progression towards the front of the field in the Dunlop MSA British Touring Car Championship at Croft, as Tom Ingram tallied a trio of top eight finishes behind the wheel of the Northwich, Cheshire-based outfit’s Hughes Safety Showers-backed Toyota Avensis.
 
Ingram came out-of-the-blocks in superb form during free practice around the technical and demanding North Yorkshire circuit, lapping fastest of all in the opening session and second-quickest in the next amongst the 30 high-profile protagonists. Unfortunately, just as he looked set to convert that into the finest qualifying position of his fledgling tin-top career, traffic in the wrong place at the wrong time conspired against the 21-year-old British Racing Drivers’ Club (BRDC) SuperStar.
 
That left Ingram a frustrated and unrepresentative 13th on the grid in the immensely popular, ITV4 live-televised, all-action BTCC – commonly regarded as the world’s premier and most fiercely-disputed tin-top series.
 
Impressively undeterred, he battled his way past no fewer than five adversaries in race one to flash across the finish line an excellent eighth, even applying some late pressure to former champions Matt Neal, Andrew Jordan and Colin Turkington – esteemed company indeed.
 
Ingram replicated that result in the second outing, once again keeping pace with the series’ established front-runners despite having to contend with 21kg of success ballast and the more rapidly-degrading, softer compound tyres.
 
The KX Akademy graduate and MSA Academy member – last year’s leading rookie – then went one better in the third and final encounter, surviving an early assault from behind that sent him briefly sideways to harass multiple champions Turkington and Jason Plato and race two winner Sam Tordoff right the way to the chequered flag in seventh.
 
The hat-trick of top eight finishes increases Speedworks’ 2015 tally to 11 top tens and a commendable 13 points scores from 15 starts, strengthening its standing in the championship tables heading into the six-week summer break. The squad sits eighth out of 18 in the overall Teams’ classification and third in the Independents’ Trophy, having gained 15 points on its closest rival at Croft.
 
“I’m really pleased,” remarked team principal Christian Dick. “On raw pace, I’d say this has been our strongest and most genuinely competitive weekend to-date. We didn’t luck into a single result – we were up towards the front on merit from the moment the car took to the track, so just imagine what we might have achieved if only we’d qualified where we should have done.
 
“Tom has gained further experience of racing against the series’ really quick guys and is continuing to earn their respect – his driving was spot-on throughout. He was robust when he needed to be, and he really looked after the car with the ballast and soft tyres on-board in race two. Similarly, the Avensis performed consistently well, which is a credit to all the boys’ stellar efforts and hard work.
 
“In summary, we showed a lot of potential and left with three very solid finishes and a strong points haul, which is a brilliant way to sign off the first half of the campaign – it gives everybody inside the team a real boost and a lot of momentum to carry into the summer break. That’s tremendously encouraging, so now we need to go away and do some testing to really build upon this when the season resumes.”