- This time last year Chris Ingram was chosen to represent PEUGEOT UK in the ERC Junior
- Ahead are demanding stages of the Barum Rally Zlín – the Czech Republic’s biggest motor sport event
- Exciting finale to the 2015 ERC Junior championship lies ahead, as Chris aims for victory
It is exactly 12 months since PEUGEOT UK unveiled its new rising young rally star. The new team has come a long way in such a short time, and now its driver, Chris Ingram, has a chance to be crowned vice champion in one of the sport’s most competitive championships, as the 2015 ERC Junior series reaches an exciting climax on the Barum Czech Rally Zlín.
Co-driven by Gabin Moreau, Ingram has been by far the top British driver in the ERC Junior championship this year, and has challenged for rally wins throughout the series, with strong performances on snow, tarmac and gravel. Despite ferocious international competition, the 21-year-old Manchester-based driver has driven consistency which he has developed into driving with great speed, illustrated by Ingram’s magnificent victory on Rally Azores.
Of the 27 ERC Juniors, Ingram is one of only five drivers in with a chance of finishing runner-up in the prestigious ERC Junior championship, and his season-long form makes him the pre-event favourite to succeed.
This year’s Barum Czech Rally Zlín takes place over 15 fast, narrow and often bumpy Tarmac stages in southern Moravia, with the 142 miles of flat-out competition made all the more demanding by the changeable grip levels and unpredictable weather. The tricky nature of the event should be ideally suited to the superb handling and performance capabilities of the PEUGEOT UK, TOTAL Lubricants and PEUGEOT Financial Services supported 208 R2 rally car.
The rally begins with a ceremonial start in the centre of Zlín at 17.00 (local time) on Friday 28th August, before the opening stage of the event – three laps of the Zlín city super-special stage. Leg one continues the following day (Saturday 29th August), with a tricky loop of four tough stages, tackled twice. After a total of 88 miles, leg one draws to a close at 23.30. The second and final leg on Sunday 30th August gets underway at 07.20 and contains a further six stages, totalling 54 miles. The day includes two runs over the famous Troják test which, at 14.2-miles, is the longest of the event. The finish ceremony takes place back in Zlín at 16.00. The service park is located outside the Barum tyre factory in the nearby town Otrokovice.
Speaking ahead of the Barum Czech Rally Zlín, Chris commented: “It would be brilliant to finish runner-up in the ERC Junior championship – that’s certainly our aim for the Barum Rally and we will be pushing hard for that result. I finished the rally last year, so I have a good feel for the roads and know my way around. The event is a real challenge, and I like it a lot. The roads are more like you would find in Britain, with quite fast, flowing, narrow and bumpy stages. In terms of road surface it’s a lot closer to home than rallies in France, Belgium or Spain.
“The Czech rally marks one-year since I’ve been a PEUGEOT UK driver. I can’t believe it’s only been twelve months since this partnership began, because we have done so much together in and out of the ERC and it has been an awesome experience for me. To celebrate our first anniversary together, I’m aiming to drive a clean rally, get a top result and finish the championship on a high!”
Chris Ingram’s key achievements to date
- Winner of the 2015 Rally Azores, ERC Juniors
- Colin McRae ERC Flat Out trophy, 2015 Rally Azores
- Colin McRae ERC Flat Out trophy 2014 Circuit of Ireland Rally – youngest driver to win the accolade
- Entered Junior ERC events in 2014 (finished 2nd in Azores, 3rd in Ypres, Belgium and was leading the UK round in Northern Ireland before crashing out)
- Goodwood Festival of Speed 2013 and 2014 – invited driver
- WRC debut on Wales Rally GB. First in R2 class 2014
- Winner of the 2013 John Easson Award for young rally drivers
- UK Renault Sport R2 Trophy winner 2012 and 2013
- ‘MSA Young Driver of the Year 2012’ ‑ first rally driver ever to win the award
- Rally Du Var 2012 – official drive in Renault Clio R3
- 2012 youngest driver to score points in the British Rally Championship (aged 17)
- 2011 British Junior 1000 Rally Champion – with 7 overall victories
PEUGEOT 208 R2 RALLY CAR
The PEUGEOT 208 rally car is constructed to ERC competition specification R2 and designed to be an affordable competitive start in professional rallying. Produced by PEUGEOT SPORT, it features a styled design, derived from the popular road-going 208– with short overhangs and a flowing transition between the bonnet and windscreen pillars. Compared to the 207 it replaced, the 208’s body-shell is around 40kg lighter, while a longer wheelbase improves stability, with a lower centre of gravity boosting the vehicle’s road-holding capabilities – an important feature in a competition-class rally car.
However, safety hasn’t been sacrificed, despite the reduced weight: the 208 R2 boasts a strengthened shell with a multi-point welded roll cage – a new manufacturing process for roll cage design and a major safety feature. The 208 R2’s engine is a competition version of the 1.6-litre VTi road car engine, naturally-aspirated and producing 185hp. This modern power-unit comes equipped with variable valve timing.
The gravel and asphalt versions of the 208 R2 are made available in kit form, including a fully-built engine. Those who prefer something a little less hands-on will also be able to buy the 208 R2 pre-built by PEUGEOT SPORT. Kits will be available to convert the gravel version to asphalt and vice-versa.