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(July 09, 2016)

Jon Armstrong fulfilled a lifelong dream when he experienced victory on a round of the World Rally Championship last weekend.


The Drive DMack Fiesta Trophy is held over five rounds of the WRC and aims to introduce the best up and coming young drivers to the challenges of a World championship event, and Jon rose to the challenge to claim his maiden win and move into second place in the championship standings.
“Winning on the world stage was always something I wanted to do, so to get it done was nice,” he said. “It is a good thing to have behind me.”

Jon had finished fourth on the opening round in Portugal after suffering turbo issues and a puncture, but he made the perfect start to Rally Poland.

“We felt relaxed, we had a good test out there and we were happy with our pace notes. We had a good set up on the car and Friday went very well with six fastest times from the eight stages. That gave us an 18 second lead going into Saturday. They are very fast stages so there wasn’t really that much time to be made, but we managed to open up a decent lead.”

Day two did not run so smoothly however, with Jon explaining the problems that saw them lose the lead. “Right from the start of the morning we had an electrical fault which meant the launch control stopped working,” he said. “We lost a bit of time over the first three stages with that because we had to do a manual launch off the line, and then there was a couple of times the car went into road mode.

We still had just under ten seconds of a lead going into the second loop, but then all the controls on the steering wheel stopped working. I couldn't even put the car in stage mode so there was no turbo boost. It wasn’t too bad on the fast parts but on the slower sections it cost us quite a lot of time and there was nothing we could do about it. We then got caught behind a car that had stopped and changed a puncture and pulled out in front of us. We were stuck in his dust and couldn’t see so we had to stop and let him go on and carry on slowly until the dust cleared a bit.”

His problems relegated him to second, 43 seconds behind leader and championship pace setter Oisin Pryce.

There was still drama aplenty on the final day, and this time the misfortune played into Jon’s hands as Pryce suffered a puncture on the rough stages. “There was a downpour on Sunday morning and with such a sandy surface the roads tore up after the WRC and R5 cars had been through, and it was just like a train track,” he revealed. 

“The first stage was 21 kilometres and we had a good run through it but it was slippery and very rough with the deep ruts. A few of the boys had issues and that put us into the lead.
“We had about 45 second lead going into the last stage and we took a bit more on the last stage so it was a good margin in the end. It was a tough event and on those rallies you have to play the long game, and even if you are having problems you just have to keep going because if you can keep a good pace you will be there or thereabouts.”

The victory puts Jon second in the championship, six points adrift of Pryce, and Jon is hopeful he can narrow that gap on the next round in Finland. “Finland is next and it will be something similar but with a few more jumps,” he said. “I’ve never done it before, but I hadn’t done Poland before either so it was really good to be the fastest and to win it. It shows our pace notes were working well and Noel and I were working well together and driving the stages to the best of our ability. It was very, very positive to win having never been there before. We just have to keep the same sort of rhythm and the same sort of driving style for Finland.”

Final Classification 
1. Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Rookie 3h 10m 16.9s 
2. Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss 3h 11m 10.5s 
3. Bernardo Sousa / Hugo Magalhaes 3h 11m 38.5s 
4. Gus Greensmith / Alex Gelsomino 3h 12m 15.2s 
5. Max Vatanen / Thierry Salva 3h 13m 05.1s 
6. Jakub Brzeziński / Bartłomiej Boba Rookie 3h 20m 32.2s 
7. Oscar Solberg / Patrik Barth Rookie 3h 23m 21.1s 
8. Nicolas Ciamin / Thibault de la Haye Rookie 3h 27m 50.0s 
9. Karan Patel / Phil Hall 3h 31m 14.6s

Trophy Classification After Round 2 
1. Osian Pryce / Dale Furniss 53 
2. Jon Armstrong / Noel O’Sullivan Rookie 47 
3. Max Vatanen / Thierry Salva 29 
4. Bernardo Sousa / Hugo Magalhaes 24 
5. Nicolas Ciamin / Thibault de la Haye Rookie 20 
6. Gus Greensmith / Alex Gelsomino 19 
7. Jakub Brzeziński / Bartłomiej Boba Rookie 16 
8. Oscar Solberg / Patrik Barth Rookie 12 
9. Dillon Van Way / Andrew Edwards Rookie 10 
10. Karan Patel / Phil Hall Rookie 2


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