Photo: PSP Images

Tom Ingram: “It really was the perfect story”

Tom Ingram said his maiden win in the all-new Toyota Corolla in just the second weekend for the car at Donington Park was “the perfect story”.

The Speedworks Motorsport man, who was backed by 4,500 guests from Toyota, made the most of reverse grid pole in the finale to take a comfortable lights-to-flag win ahead of Power Maxed Racing’s Rob Collard.

Last year’s BTCC runner-up went into the weekend with high hopes after a strong performance at a post-media day test, but admitted he was still learning about the car after a weekend of mixed conditions at Brands Hatch.

After qualifying sixth in more mixed conditions on Saturday, Ingram took fifth in the opener and tenth on the hard tyre in race two, to set him up for his shot at a race three win.

“You really couldn’t have written it – it really was the perfect story. We had to work hard for it,” said Ingram.

“In the second race, we were on the harder tyre and it was just a case of trying to stay inside the top twelve to give us a chance with the reverse grid.

“In the final race, Rob had good pace but I was more than happy for him to come and drive up to the back of us. I had the pace in hand towards the end and was saving tyres.

“If he did decide to get a bit closer, I could open it up. My ballpark was about 1.5 seconds – if he came within that, I would try and open it up again.

“It felt in control, but I also wanted to be mindful of the fact that if we got a safety car at any point during the race, I had something in hand to try and gap him again.”

A huge continent of staff from Toyota Manufacturing in Burnaston cheered Ingram on throughout the weekend, which he said made the achievement even more special.

“It was amazing the support we had, not only from around the stands but everyone from Toyota. We can look back on this weekend with a huge amount of pride,” said Ingram.

“It’s certainly up there [as one of the best moments of my career] – it’s such a great moment and great to win in front of so many ‘home’ fans,” he added.

Ingram leaves Donington Park sixth in the championship standings, just 12 points behind early leader Ash Sutton.