It had been a quiet year for Kesh’s Jonny Armstrong. Prior to last weekend he only had outings at Galway and the Donegal Forestry under his belt, but last weekend saw him really tearing it up in Germany.
Armstrong was taking advantage of a free WRC2 drive he won last season, and he extracted the absolute maximum from his opportunity, laying down a fastest time on his way to a 16th place finish.
“Last year I did the Drive DMACK trophy and I won two free drives in WRC 2 with DMACK and M-Sport in an R5 car. Germany was my first one and now I’m doing Spain at the end of September.
“We [Killarney’s Noel O’Sullivan is Armstrong’s co-driver] hadn’t driven and R5 car before so we had a test on Monday. They aren’t hard to drive if you know what to expect, but it just took a while to get the set-up right and get that bit of confidence to push on.
“As the weekend went on we just got quicker and quicker. We got a lot closer to the top times and then we managed to really push on and get the top time. Friday we were just bedding ourselves in, but we lost all the brakes on and had to retire with that. We restarted on Saturday and both Saturday and Sunday were very good.”
Armstrong is a real rising star and he felt completely at home rubbing shoulders with illustrious WRC company.
“It was amazing to get a fastest time and be punching in top times in the other stages. Some of the guys in our class would have been WRC drivers before. The like of [Eric] Camilli and [Jan] Kopecky have been at the top level. They’ve been around for years in R5 and F2000 cars. Nobody in the top 15 is slow, they’re all very capable.”
Spain is next on the horizon, but Armstrong is clearly hopefully of securing an R5 drive on a consistent more basis.
“I’ve no plans for next year at the minute. It’s all about finance. We’ll see what comes out of this. It’s hard to get the funds. R5 is a different group, it’s very expensive to do which is why it was so good to get these two drives last year. Each one is costing in the region £50,000 to £75,000 for each rally.
“We’re going to try and improve again in Spain, get a good result and take it from there, that’s all we can do. You never know what can come up.”