Armstrong to mount European Championship challenge in 2015(December 30, 2014)
HIS entry is in and his hopes are high, but Kesh driver Jon Armstrong admits he and his team have a lot of work to do if they are to mount a Junior European Rally Championship tilt in 2015.
The 20-year-old was one of the first to enter the series and, all being well, he will be on the start line for the season opener in Latvia at the start of February, possibly in a new car should their developing plans all come together.
This year proved to be a quiet one for the Fermanagh flyer, with only a few fast stages at the Ulster Rally, which was tragically cut short, being all the competitive driving he undertook. However, despite that lack of race practice, Armstrong, who excelled onboard his Ford Fiesta R2 in the 2013 British Rally Championship, believes he will be able to compete on the European stage.
“The plan is to do the Junior European Championship, but there's a bit of work to do first," he admitted.
“We're getting things together. We still have the Fiesta, but we're working on getting a [Peugeot] 208, but we'll see how that goes.
“I have a new co-driver in place, Noel O'Sullivan, from Killarney direction. Compared to some he's not that experienced, but he's done a right bit of rallying in Ireland, he's commited and he wants to go far in the sport, so I think we'll work well together.
“We have a lot of hard work ahead of us and we've touched base with potential sponsors and partners, but we're still on the look out for anyone interested in coming on board.
“I only did the Ulster in 2014, but we showed good pace on those stages, which was good considering I hadn't done anything else, so I think with a bit of testing I should be all right for the opening round in February," he concluded.
The FIA ERC Junior Championship will take place over six rounds of the European Rally Championship (ERC) with three events on loose surfaces and three on asphalt. ERC Junior Championship entrants will be seeded together on events, starting behind the four-wheel-drive crews to help promotion and filming. Eurosport will dedicate five minutes of airtime during each end-of-day report programme, plus the Inside ERC show.
The winning driver will get the use of an R5 car for the final round of the 2015 ERC. Details of further awards and incentives, plus a training programme, will be announced soon.
FIA ERC Junior Championship 2015 calendar (provisional): Rally Liepja (Latvia, gravel/ice/snow), February 6-8; Circuit of Ireland Rally (Northern Ireland, asphalt), April 2-4; SATA Rallye Açores (Portugal, gravel), June 4-6; Geko Ypres Rally (Belgium, asphalt), June 25-27; auto24 Rally Estonia (gravel), July 17-19; Barum Czech Rally Zlín (Czech Republic, asphalt), August 28-30.
To keep up-to-date with Jon's 2015 plans or to contact him about becoming a potential partner or sponsor, visit Jon Armstrong Rallying on Facebook and www.jonarmstrong.co.uk.