Chris Ingram and Alex Kihurani Showcase Superb Performance at Ypres Rally Belgium
[Ypres, 25 June 2023] – Chris Ingram, FIA European Rally Champion 2019, delivered a sensational performance at the highly acclaimed Ypres Rally Belgium, surprising with his pace after a 5 month lay-off. Despite facing stiff competition and unexpected challenges, Ingram’s ability to adapt to the Wevers Sport Volkswagen Polo GTI Rally2 propelled him to a commendable 2nd overall in the rally, 1st in the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship and 1st privateer.
Ypres Rally Belgium, often regarded as one of Europe’s most iconic rallies, drew an impressive crowd of over 100,000 spectators, emphasizing its significance within the rally community. While this year’s event did not form part of the World Rally Championship (WRC), it retained its prestige and attracted top-level competitors from across the globe.
For Chris Ingram, Ypres Rally Belgium marked a significant milestone as his first major event with new co-driver, Alex Kihurani, and behind the wheel of the Wevers Sport VW Polo Rally2, expectations were tempered, considering the circumstances. Nevertheless, Ingram defied the odds and demonstrated his speed and potential throughout the rally.
In the fiercely competitive main class, featuring an impressive field of 30 cars, Chris Ingram quickly made his mark, securing a top 3 position from the very first stage just 0.7 of a second behind the fastest time. He found himself locked in a captivating battle for victory with the two local Rally1 level drivers, Adrian Fourmaux of RedBull MSPORT Ford and Citroen driver Stephane Lefebvre. The trio finished on the same second on multiple stages, highlighting the exceptionally high level of competition.
However, the rally was not without its share of dramatic moments. In a heart-stopping incident on Stage 7, Stephane Lefebvre experienced a severe crash, rolling his car around ten times. Fortunately, both driver and co-driver emerged unscathed, a testament to the safety measures in place in modern rally cars.
As the rally progressed, the overnight podium featured Adrian Fourmaux in 1st place, Chris Ingram in 2nd, and 11x winner of the Ypres Rally, local legend Freddy Loix, in 3rd. Day 2 posed a rigorous challenge with 10 stages, spanning from early morning till late evening. Ingram’s objective was clear – drive intelligently, aiming to close the gap with Fourmaux without risking damage to the car.
In a remarkable afternoon display, Ingram clinched three consecutive stage wins, reducing the deficit to a mere 13 seconds. However, a slow puncture during one of the final stages tested his mettle. Ingram and Kihurani crossed the finish line a mere 17 seconds adrift of the MSPORT Ford factory team, securing 2nd place overall, while also claiming 1st privateers and 1st in the Kroon-Oil Belgian Rally Championship, with a 50 second lead over the third-place Belgian crew of Maxime Potty and Renaud Hermann.
The team were delighted with the outstanding pace and this result after providing a perfectly prepared Polo GTI Rally2. Chris Ingram now sets his sights on claiming a major victory in one of the upcoming events. With aspirations to compete in a round of the European Rally Championship before the highly anticipated World Rally Championship round, Rally Central Europe, in October.
“I am proud of this performance. I haven’t had much opportunity to compete in 2023 so to jump in a new car with a new co-driver and be straight back on a World class pace fills me with confidence. I want to thank all of my supporters, partners and Wevers Sport for providing an excellent car. I want to pay a special mention to Alex who has jumped in an delivered for the off-set.” Chris Ingram commented.
Alex Kihurani commented; “This result at the legendary Ypres Rally is a dream come true! Inside the car, it’s an event that makes you feel like a super hero when it call comes together. Ditch hooking on tarmac at over 100mph and holding on across the narrow lanes. The confidence, precision, and commitment from Chris this weekend in a new car with me alongside as a new co-driver was just unfathomable. I loved every wild minute of it.
Outside the car, it’s an event that has arguably the best atmosphere of any rally in the world. As a previous competitor and spectator on multiple occasions, I could only dream of being up front fighting for the win as an American at the most European of rallies. I’m still pinching myself for being able to experience it.”
About Chris Ingram
Chris Ingram is the first British rally driver in 52 years to become FIA European Rally Champion.
From humble beginnings and the first in his family blood line to forge a career in rally driving, Chris is relentless, strong, passionate and hungrier than ever to achieve his dreams and earn his place in the World Rally Championship.
In 2019, despite a very limited budget and supported by a crowdfunding campaign, Chris defied the odds to become FIA European Rally Champion. In his first part season of the FIA WRC2 in 2022, he finished the first privateer and demonstrated his massive potential at every event contested.
These achievements have reinforced Chris’s unshakeable belief that he can become a title contender in the World Rally Championship in the future, and battle with the World’s best teams and drivers in what is widely renowned as the toughest racing series on the planet.
Chris has 1 goal, to become World Rally Champion.
Chris Ingram is supported by; Kroon Oil, CarFinance 247, Suisscourtage Assurances (JV Pastor Group), P1 Racewear, Pirelli, NG Motorsports, CPASE, Maverick Stars Trust.
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