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Tom Ingram: ‘The better man won’

Tom Ingram admitted that the ‘better man had won’ after missing out on back-to-back BTCC titles in the Brands Hatch season finale.

The Bristol Street Motors with EXCELR8 driver headed into the weekend with an outside chance of the title after Ash Sutton established a 45 point lead at the top, with a maximum of only 67 left to play for.

When Sutton put his NAPA Racing Ford on pole position for the opening race, Ingram’s already slim hopes became even smaller and although he pushed hard to keep his rival honest throughout the opening race, victory for Sutton wrapped up the title with two races left to run.

A similar result followed in race two, with Ingram then rounding out the campaign with fourth in race three to end the year having scored a new personal best of 400 points – six more than he required to win the title twelve months ago.

A total of 17 podium finishes from the 30 races was also a new record; five more than he had picked up in any previous campaign.

“Coming into the weekend the title was Ash’s to lose and we knew realistically that we weren’t going to win it without a lot of luck on our side,” Ingram said. “Of course I would have taken that but at the same time, it wouldn’t have felt as good as it did twelve months ago when we had to go out and win it.

“Ash just went out there and scored the points he needed to score, which is exactly what I would have done in his position. I pushed him as hard as we could and I don’t think we could have done anymore than we did this season. I’ve scored more podiums than ever before and scored more points than I did to win the title so we’ve had a really good year; it’s just unfortunate that Ash had a better one.

“He’s had one hell of a car this season and is a worthy champion as both him and the whole NAPA team have done an amazing job. However, that doesn’t mean we just sit back and say ‘oh well they are better than us’ and give up, it just increases the determination to improve.

“We need to knuckle down over the winter and make sure we come back next season with a package that is even stronger than we have now, and do the same to NAPA as they have done to us this year.”