Armstrong wins opening round of the 2015 Carryduff Forklift R2 NI Championship(March 20, 2015)
The Kesh driver, who is also competing in the European Rally Championship this year, began his quest for a local title with maximum points, taking the win with 18 seconds to spare. After a slow start he quickly showed his class once he settled into the circuit, and powered through the closing stages to overhaul the opposition and grab the victory.
“There were no real dramas,” said Jon. “We were fastest on the first stage but on the second stage they used more of the racetrack and I hadn’t been to Bishopscourt before and I didn’t really know the track. It took me about four stages to learn the racetrack and what lines to carry around the circuit because it is basically like you are racing rather than rallying. We took the lead on stage four or five and then we ended up winning by 18 seconds. They were very short stages, only two miles each and the last two were four miles. It was hard to make a difference when everyone was going flat out. A second felt like five seconds on a real rally. You are flat out the whole day. It was nice to win it and get off to a good start and be the early leader.”
The prize for winning the championship is a fully funded drive in a Citroen DS3 R2 on Rally GB at the end of the season, and with such a prestigious prize on offer, Jon is keen to tackle the entire championship series, with each round of the Northern Ireland Stage Rally Championship counting towards the title. The next round of the series is the Circuit of Ireland, which will be doubly important as it is also a round of the European Rally Championship, which he acknowledges is his main aim for the season.
“My priority is the European championship but it would be nice to win this Northern Ireland Championship as well. I am going to commit to both for now,” he said. “The next round is the Circuit of Ireland and I can score points for the European Championship and this championship as well.”
Having finished fifth in Latvia on the opening round of the series, Jon admits he would love to take maximum points on his home round of the season at Easter. “I’m really looking forward to the Circuit,” he said. “Hopefully we will have a good run there and I’d like to get a win. I have to buckle down and make the most of the opportunity.”