Photo: PSP Images

Tom Ingram surprised tyre gamble didn’t pay

Tom Ingram admits he was surprised that his gamble on slick tyres in the final race of the weekend at Croft didn’t pay off.

The Speedworks driver had earlier battled power steering issues to take eleventh in race one before fighting his way forwards to seventh in race two; a result that put him on the second row of the grid for race three.

Rain prior to the start left teams with a decision of which way to go with tyres, with Ingram the only one of the front-runners to run slicks on a circuit that was expected to dry out.

Plummeting down to outside the top 20 on the opening lap as wet shod cars made the most of the extra grip, Ingram was by far and away the quickest driver on slick tyres as he looked to work his way back up the order.

However the ‘crossover’ – whereby the slick tyre became the right tyre for the conditions – would come too late to allow Ingram to benefit as he had to settle for 17th at the flag.

“I’m not going to go with something I think is wrong and I was surprised more people didn’t go with slicks to be honest,” he said. “On the laps to the grid, you could see that there were dry patches on the circuit, the sun was shining, the wind was blowing and we had a track temperature above 20 – so it was always going to dry.

“With that in mind, I was sure that slicks was the right way to go but I don’t think anyone expected the crossover to come as late as it did. Right up until four or five laps from the end, I still thought we could do it but the performance of the wets just didn’t drop off like we expected it to.

“I don’t regret the decision as on another day we could have really taken advantage and I’d do the same again. It was just a shame that it didn’t on this occasion.”

A point for fastest lap in race three means Ingram is now the only driver to have picked up a point in every race this season and he admitted that that was a sign that Speedworks are moving in the right direction with the new Toyota Corolla.

“I wasn’t aware of that; it’s quite cool,” he said. “We’ve been consistent so far even though we haven’t been the quickest. Of course we want to be faster and whilst the results could have been better, Croft has been a good weekend as we seen some good progress with the car and we keep moving in the right direction.

“It isn’t going to be an overnight thing but hopefully we can take what we have learned so far and continue to get stronger as the year goes on.”