chris ingram aims to double-up his 21st birthday celebrations as peugeot uk young star goes for erc-junior victory on rally estonia

Thursday, 9 July 2015

  • Having won in the Azores, Ingram heads to the fast forest roads of Estonia full of confidence
  • Manchester-based driver predicts “flat-out sprint from start to finish” on the fastest ERC round
  • Ingram to push for series lead in Rally Estonia debut as the ERC Junior series reaches its fifth and penultimate round

PEUGEOT UK’s rising young rally star Chris Ingram celebrated his 21st birthday on Tuesday (7 July), but he’s put the party on hold in the hopes of making it a double celebration with victory in his Peugeot 208 ‘R2’ on next week’s Auto24 Rally Estonia (17-19 July).

Out of the 27 drivers registered for the 2015 FIA European Junior Rally Championship, Ingram is currently flying high in second place, just 26 points behind Sweden’s Emil Bergkvist. With the four best scores from six rounds to count, the points gap is almost halved once you take the two lowest scores into account, meaning the title fight is extremely close and well within Ingram’s grasp.

Even though he has never rallied in Estonia before, Ingram heads to the event on top form and full of confidence. His PEUGEOT UK, PEUGEOT Financial Services and TOTAL Lubricants supported 208 ‘R2’ has already won on gravel, beating the opposition in convincing style on the loose surface of Rally Azores. The ultra-fast and flowing forest roads of southern Estonia are completely different to the twisty and narrow gravel roads of the mid-Atlantic island, but Ingram and co-driver Gabin Moreau are looking forward to the challenge and head east with only ERC Junior victory in mind.

This year’s Rally Estonia is based in Otepää, the winter sports capital of the country and contains 16 incredibly fast gravel stages covering 126 miles. A short ‘Qualifying Stage’ gets the action underway on Friday 17 July, before the ceremonial start and a City Stage in Tartu (the second largest city in Estonia, behind Tallinn) later the same day. Last year, this City Stage attracted 30,000 spectators. Leg one continues the following day, with nine stages totalling 85 miles. It includes two runs over the monster Ristimäe stage which, at 21.7 miles, is not only the longest stage of the rally, but the second longest in the entire 2015 ERC. Leg two on Sunday (19 July) contains a further six stages, totalling 40 miles, before the finish ceremony in Tartu at 16.00 (local time).

Speaking ahead of Rally Estonia, Chris commented: “Rally Estonia is the only round of the ERC Junior championship that I have never done – but I’m not too worried because on the stages which have been new to me on the other events this year, I’ve been very quick and often set fastest time.  Rally Estonia is so fast, you don’t really need previous experience like you do in the Azores or in Ypres, where the stages are technical and have unique characteristics.

“We won in the Azores, which was also a gravel rally, so we head to Estonia feeling confident, with a really good set-up on the PEUGEOT 208 ‘R2’. We’ll try to have a good test on a road that is as similar to the actual rally as we can possibly find, just to fine-tune the 208 for the fast flowing roads and high-speed jumps. The priority is to be one hundred per cent happy with the car’s set-up, which is what we’ll work at before Estonia.

“The fight for the ERC Junior title is wide open. There is no need for me to work out what points we need, because the only thing I am focused on is beating Emil [Bergkvist] on the remaining two rounds. In Estonia, it’s just going to be a flat-out sprint from start to finish.”

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.

Follow @PeugeotRally on Twitter to keep up-to-date with the latest news on Chris Ingram and his rally driving adventure.

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

The PEUGEOT Brand can trace its roots back to 1810, but it was in 1889 that it began producing automobiles and just five years later a PEUGEOT car won the first-ever recorded motor competition – in the Paris to Rouen event.

Demonstrated through its brand signature ‘Motion & Emotion’, PEUGEOT is present in 160 countries, has 10,000 franchised dealers, and is recognised for the quality and design excellence of its products.

Worldwide PEUGEOT sells around 1.5m vehicles and is represented in the majority of markets around the world with a strategy to continuously move the Brand up-market.

The UK is currently the 3rd largest market for PEUGEOT and the 208, recently re-invigorated, is the best-selling car. Recent changes include the new GT Line models, unique textured paint and wider personalisation, plus the option of Active City Brake and a reversing camera.

PEUGEOT UK COMMUNICATIONS Contacts

Andrew Didlick, Director Communications, Events & Brand Partnerships
T: +44 (0)2476 884309    |  M: +44 (0) 7836 362859     |  E: andrew.didlick@mpsa.com

Kevin Jones, Head of Communications, Peugeot UK
T: +44 (0)2476 884215    |  M: +44 (0) 7880 786596 | E: kevin.jones@peugeot.com

Louise Dowling, PR Manager, Peugeot UK
T: +44 (0)2476 884216     |  M: +44 (0) 7767 490420     |  E: louise.dowling@peugeot.com

Kerry Livesey, Press Officer, Peugeot UK
T: +44 (0)2476 884212     |  M: +44 (0) 7940 078848 | E: kerry.livesey@peugeot.com

Craig Morrow, Press Fleet Officer
T: +44 (0)2476 884261     |  M: +44 (0) 7747 764745     |  E: craig.morrow@mpsa.com

For high-resolution downloadable images of the Peugeot product range, information and news stories, log onto the dedicated Peugeot Press website at: www.peugeotpress.co.uk (Newspress passwords apply)

Peugeot UK website: www.peugeot.co.uk

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