Maiden BRC win for Chris Ingram

Monday 25 March 2024

Chris Ingram and Alex Kihurani took the top spot on last Saturday’s Legend Fires North West Stages, the opening round of the highly-anticipated Probite Motorsport UK British Rally Championship.

Ingram blasted his Volkswagen Polo GTi through the challenging Lancashire lanes to four fastest stage times en route to securing his maiden BRC win, thus taking home maximum points in one of the most exciting line-up of series contenders for many years.

Irish ace and 2021 Junior BRC champion William Creighton mounted a late charge in his Ford Fiesta Rally2 but in the end settled for a secure second with Meirion Evans giving the Toyota Yaris GR Rally2 an impressive debut on UK soil to round out the fiercely-contested top three podium spots.

Confirming the BRC’s increasing profile, the public were out in force in Garstang town centre on Friday night to savour the ceremonial start with the stars and their cars waved over the ramp to a rapturous welcome.

The fast and furious action then began on Saturday morning with the already challenging closed-road stages becoming even more demanding with heavy rain showers lashing the region.

Undaunted by the tricky conditions, Ingram was swiftest out of the blocks, winning the opening stage with a scratch time. Four-time BRC champion Keith Cronin was second fastest in his Fiesta with 2022 British champion Osian Pryce in third in another of the fast Fords. 

Cronin’s hopes, though, were dashed by a puncture, driveshaft failure, handbrake issues plus a wrong tyre choice, which eventually dropped the experienced Irishman back to a sixth place finish. An understandably ‘gutted’ Pryce, too, was sidelined by technical issues just as the steady starting Welshman seemed poised to mount a serious attack on Ingram’s shrinking lead. 

Their misfortune left the Manchester-born VW ace clear to claim an impressive victory. Understandably, he was delighted with the result. “It’s amazing to win at home against such strong competition,” he enthused. “We had a strong start but overall it’s been a difficult day actually; we went out on slicks thinking it would be dry, but overall we’ve managed it well. It’s going to be one hell of a battle for the rest of the season.” 

The Junior BRC category was equally exciting with young drivers aiming to prove their worth and bid for the coveted title. Taking the opening round glory – and becoming one of the youngest-ever Junior BRC winners – Kalum Graffin took his Peugeot 208 Rally4 to a sensational win, against stiff competition.  

The BRC3 category saw asphalt ace William Hill take the top honours while Skoda driver Hugh Brunton stormed to the Open Rally Title event win and Darren Atkinson took his Ford Escort MKII to an impressive National category victory. 

You can catch highlights of the Legend Fires North West Stages on ITV4 and ITVX on Tuesday 2 April at 17:45 and repeated on Sunday 7 April at 08:00.

The next round of the Probite British Rally Championship heads for the gravel and world-class stages of the Rallynuts Severn Valley Stages in April.