Bounce back performance for Armstrong in Yorkshire(October 01, 2013)
The Trackrod Rally Yorkshire saw the British Rally Championship crews battle it out on the penultimate round of 2013. The event this year was based in the small town of Pickering, only a few miles from the Great Dalby Forest where 7 stages would be based.
After convincingly leading the R2 category on the Ulster rally before a light roll, Fermanagh teenager, Jon Armstrong was understandably nervous in the lead up to the event .With only the evenings and weekends to work on the car it was a race against time for Armstrong Motorsport, Jon’s family run team to get the car ready.
Armstrong added, “Before the rally I was feeling apprehensive because it was a completely new event for both Karl and myself and I also knew it would be difficult after the crash on the Ulster”.
Adding to the pressure the crew were already facing before the event had even started, they hit trouble by damaging the sump on their recce vehicle meaning they had to complete making their pacenotes as passengers with fellow competitors which was not ideal. Despite this set back, Jon and Karl were very confident with their pacenotes.
The action got underway with two night stages on Friday, Armstrong started well with a third fastest and second fastest in R2 to hold second over night, just 14 seconds behind the leader.
Jon admitted he had took a very cautious approach in the dark taking time in getting his confidence back and settling into a steady pace.
Saturday morning starter better for the eighteen year old he took time out of the leading R2 car of Daniel Mckenna to hold second place. However the third placed Norwegian, Steve Rokland was closing in on Jon.
15 miles of Langdale really shook things up as Jon got demoted into third but only 4.8 seconds separated the top 3 in R2 as Steve Rokland set a great time which meant he was only 0.1 seconds off the lead. A three way battle for the win had developed with just two stages remaining.
On the Penultimate stage hitting a rut, Jon bent the wishbone on his Fiesta R2. This was not a major problem but slowed him slightly, enough to hand the advantage to Daniel Mckenna who increased his lead to 11 seconds. However Jon managed to take just over 2 seconds out of Rokland which meant he was just now lying 2.9 seconds behind with one stage to go.
Armstrong pushed his Fiesta as fast as he could through the last stage to record a time 3 seconds quicker than Rokland which meant he took second in R2 by just 0.1 seconds. A great result for Jon and Karl in what had been a difficult return to the hot seat on a new rally for him.
A strong result in Rallye Sunseeker could see Jon get third in the R2 Championship, Jon also has a 12 point lead in the Ravenol Newcomers Cup which is aimed at drivers new to the British Rally Championship.