JON Armstrong knows Rally Ypres isn’t going to make or break his Junior World Rally Championship aspirations, but he is keen to achieve a good result in Belgium this weekend.
Going into the penultimate round of the series, the 26-year-old Kesh driver is 15 points behind leader Sami Pajari, but when dropped scores – each particpant drops their lowest score – come into play, he is just four points adrift, which means there is plenty still to play for.
This weekend sees the action move from the Estonian gravel to Belgian asphalt, which should make Armstrong, who has plenty of tarmac experience and who won on the surface in Croatia at the start of the season, one of the pre-event favourites.
And while keen to make the most of his chances this coming weekend, the 2018 World eSports Rally champion knows that, with the season ending Spanis rally offering double points, there is still an awful lot to play for.
“I think Spain is going to be the one that counts but definitely I could do with another strong rally,” observed the Codemasters DiRT Rally team driver.
“It mightn’t need to be a win but considering Portugal [where an engine issue forced hom to retire] has already put a dent in my challenge, we can’t afford too many more so touch wood we’ll do well in Belgium.
“Whoever wins in Spain, it could be winner takes all because there are so many points on offer. There are a lot of points available, so it’s totally wide open.
“It should be a good battle and it will be something to look forward to.”
Armstrong’s fellow Ulsterman, Lisburn’s WIlliam Creighton will also be a hot tip for Ypres, given he has competed in the event three times before, unlike Jon who is looking forward to more testing new stages behind the wheel of his M-Sport Poland Rally4 Ford Fiesta.
“It’s going to be a challenging event. I’ve never done Ypres before but just looking at videos and onboards from other years, it looks like a big challenge,” he said.
“There are lots of cuts that you have to get right. There are all sort of risks with the cuts but you have to go into them because the road gets so dirty from the gravel being dragged out.
“I think it’s a good opportunity but we’ve seen some of the other drivers being quick on tarmac too and I think William has a good chance in this rally.
“He’s the only one who has previous experience of doing the event, so he’s got a good chance, having the experience of the stages.
“He was really good on the first day in Portugal, we were first and second up to the mid day break on day one, so it would be nice to do the same again!”
To read more on this story see this week’s Fermanagh Herald. Can’t get to the shop to collect your copy? No problem! You can download a copy straight to your device by following this link https://bit.ly/3gOl8G0
To read more.. Subscribe to current edition
Posted: 2:00 pm August 12, 2021