Chris Ingram bounced back from his illness-enforced Rally Islas Canarias exit in style with a strong second place in the FIA ERC Junior Under 28 Championship on Rally di Roma Capitale last weekend.
Ingram started Rally Islas Canarias on a high after winning his category on the season-opening Azores Airlines Rallye only to pull out in the early stages in Gran Canaria after feeling unwell.
But following a period of treatment and recuperation, Ingram was back in action in Italy for what was his first major event on Tarmac in the ŠKODA Fabia R5 he shares with co-driver and fellow Briton Ross Whittock.
As well as finishing runner-up in ERC Junior Under 28, Ingram clocked his first outright stage win in the FIA European Rally Championship.
“I’m really happy and winning a stage outright is definitely a massive boost up against some proper rallying legends,” said Ingram, the 2017 ERC Junior Under 27 champion. “The competition has been the best I’ve ever faced, not just from the local guys but Alexey Lukyanuk, Nikolay Gryazin, so many fast drivers were here.
“I thought it was all over when we hit that rock on Saturday and got the puncture because it was a really heavy impact and the steering was out after that. It’s a miracle we didn’t have the biggest crash ever because the boulder was the size of a dog.
“We’ve shown some really promising speed so massive thanks to the team. I’m looking forward to see what the future brings in this car and with this team. We’ve got some really important points for the championship, now for a big attack in Barum.”
Larnaca based Rally Cyprus took place on the winding roads of the nearby mountains of Troödos. Orhan Avcioglu and Burcin Korkmaz duo took their best result so far in FIA ERC and completed the rally in 5th position. The Cyprus Rally has been a mixed surface event combining both gravel and asphalt stages. On Friday, June 15, the ceremonial took place in the Finikoudes beachfront and the crews started this tough rally. Orhan Avcioglu said” I am very happy to finish this tough rally in 5th position and have valuable points for the championship” The next rally of the championship will be in Italy at Rally Roma.
Toksport WRT drivers Orhan Avcioglu and Burcin Korkmaz completed Rally Acropolis, one of the toughest rallies in ERC, at 8th overall. The rally started on first of June at Acropolis, Athens with the ceremonial start. The crews ran 12 stages in total of 867 kilometres. The crews had to drive against the hot weather and the harsh conditions. Orhan Avcioglu said ” We are happy to finish and gain experience in these hard conditions.”
Second round of FIA European Rally Championship , Rally Canarias enden prematurely for Chris Ingram due to health reasons on stage 3. Chris was feeling unwell whole week but attempted to start the rally. The team and Chris decided that it is too dangerous to continue under the bad health conditions and he retired. He hopes to recover until the third round of the series, Acropolis Rally.
Orhan Avicoglu has gained a lot of experience in Skoda Fabia R5 on tarmac stages of Canarias and he managed to finish 15th overall in the rally. He said ” Everything was good, big thanks for my team, they were great. We learned a lot. We didn’t take any big risk, we wanted mainly to make ot through” after the last stage.
Despite having mechanical problems during the Rally, the Lebanese driver Gilbert Bannout managed to finish third in ERC2 in a Subaru Impreza.
Chris Ingram crowned his FIA European Rally Championship four-wheel-drive debut with an ERC Junior U28 class victory. During the 3 days close competition, Ingram had 6 best times out of 15 stages in U28. The battle continued until the last stage Tronqueira 2 and Ingram won U28 by 1 minute 08 seconds gap.
Menderes Okur completed the race 4th in ERC2 and scored valuable points for the championship. Orhan Avcioglu had an unfortunate crash in the 11th stage and retired.
Toksport WRT will be following FIA ERC in 2018. Last year’s FIA ERC U27 Champion Chris Ingram and 2017 Balkan Rally Champion Orhan Avcioglu will be driving Skoda Fabia R5. Menderes Okur will be competing in FIA ERC2 in a Subaru Impreza.
Chris Ingram said ” I have been aiming to compete in the top tier of the European Rally Championship for a long time. Thanks to the €100,000 prize fund for winning the ERC Junior U27 title last year it has made that dream a possibility. There were many many discussions and options on the table so It has been an incredibly difficult task to choose the right one. Having met with Toksport in Germany in February I am very confident with my decision, they are a passionate and top team and their offer was too good to refuse. They want to win as much as me so it makes perfect sense! I can’t wait to drive the Fabia R5 for the first time and to start a new title fight in the Azores next week with the new team and car. The Azores is one of my favourite rallies in the world, however I’ll face a big challenge “
Orhan Avcioglu said ” We are embarking on a new campaign for 2018; together with Toksport WRT, we will be racing in the European Rally Championship with Skoda Fabia R5. The ERC is extremely competitive so we need to build on our pace from 2017 season. We are familiar with the car however all the rallies will be new to us. Therefore we need to find the balance between outright speed and consistancy. I would like to thank Toksport WRT for presenting this unique opportunity. “
The first race of the championship will be Rallye Azores on 22nd of March.
Toksport WRT drivers had a successful weekend at WRC Rally Sweden. A small mistake cost Finn driver Janne Tuohino valuable times but he kept his pace and scored 2 times, second fastest stage time in WRC2 . On the famous Colins Crest jump, Jarmo Berg flew to 33 meters with a 10th longest jump overall. By the end of last stage, Janne Tuohino / Reeta Hamalainen finished fifth in WRC2, while Jarmo Berg / Rami Suorso was tenth in WRC2.
Toksport WRT will be racing with 2 crews in Rally Sweden as the opening round of 2018 season. Finnish drivers Janne Tuohino and Reeta Hämäläinen will be competing in Skoda Fabia R5. The second Skoda Fabia R5 will also be driven by Finnish drivers Jarmo Berg and Rami Suorso and both crews will score points for Toksport WRT.
Orhan Avcioglu and Burcin Korkmaz had an unlucky weekend at Rallye Casinos do Algarve for the FIA ERT Final. The duo completed the first day third overall and second in FIA ERT. The misfortune started with the second day’s stages. They had a puncture following by an off road. With this incident, Orhan’s podium and FIA ERT title hope evaporated and he had to retire from the rally.
Ugur Soylu and his new co-driver Mehmet Koleoglu finished in second position after the two day battle in Kocaeli Rally for the final round of Turkish Rally Championship. Ugur had a good pace and hold the first place at the end of day one but due to a puncture on the opening stage of the second day he lost his lead and completed the rally in second place . With this result Ugur also completed the season in second place in Turkish Rally Championship. Menderes Okur and Ufuk Uluocak had to retire in their Mitsubishi Evo IX due to a mechanical failure.