World Rally Championship: Chris Ingram to compete in privateer drive

By Matt WarwickBBC Sport
Chris Ingra's Skoda Fabia R5
Ingram will compete using a striking new livery

Britain's Chris Ingram is set to compete in the World Rally Championship after securing a privateer drive.

Ingram, who won the 2019 European Rally Championship (ERC) despite having to crowdfund, will compete in a specially prepared Skoda Fabia Rally2 Evo.

The move follows months of trying to find ways to fund a return to the sport - including selling shares in himself, Dragons' Den-style.

"I'll never give up and never stop believing," said Ingram, 26.

"There have been some really tough moments, but it feels so special to be able to say I'm a World Rally Championship driver.

"Winning the ERC title in 2019 opened up lots of doors and I was close to landing a really good drive in 2020. The pandemic slammed all those doors shut. I'm so lucky to have this chance."

Ingram will test the new car - run by the Belgian SXM Competition team - in France this week before heading to the Rally Croatia on 22 April for his first event of this season.

How to win a rally title with crowdfunding

Kalle Rovanpera of Toyota currently leads the standings in the World Rally Championship after two rounds, with British team-mate Elfyn Evans fourth.

Despite his 2019 ERC title win, Ingram spent much of last season on the sidelines because of a lack of funding and the coronavirus pandemic.

But he has now secured enough to compete in six rallies across this season's World Rally Championship in the WRC3 privateer class.

Ingram could compete for top honours if the higher performance works teams' cars crash or have mechanical issues.

Ingram resorted to crowdfunding after losing his sponsorship during the 2019 European Rally Championship season.

But he still managed to clinch the title after the contributions meant he was able to scrape enough money together to get to the final rally of the season in Hungary.

He dramatically beat Russia's Aleksey Lukyanuk after crossing the line with a puncture in the final metres of the final stage in torrential rain.

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