Jon Armstrong will compete in the first round of the European Rally Championship in Poland this weekend.
The Kesh driver uses the event to collect a few stage kilometers in the run-up to round three of the Junior World Rally Championship in Estonia and will drive the brand new Ford Fiesta Rally3 from M-Sport Poland.
A second Fermanagh competitor is also traveling to Poland, with navigator Brian Hoy, who contributes Cathan McCourt in her Ford Fiesta Rally2.
Armstrong remains focused on his JWRC title challenge and he believes his visit to Poland is an ideal preparation for the loose ground stages in Estonia.
“It made sense to try to take advantage of this opportunity because before Estonia I needed some experience on fast gravel roads,” he said.
“I am very grateful to Thrustmaster, Seacon UK and Veemann. their support along with those behind the scenes made this experience possible.
“I’ve really enjoyed Rally Poland in the past – I did the rally in 2016 and in 2017 I watched the event. It’s a beautiful part of the world so I just tried to grab the opportunity with both hands and luckily we were able to make it happen. ”
Rally Poland was part of the World Rally Championship when Armstrong competed in it five years ago. This event earned Armstrong his first win in the WRC’s Drive Dmack Cup, but this time he’s going into the rally with little experience with the car he drives.
“So far I have only driven the Rally3 car on a racetrack and have seen a passenger ride on gravel with Ken Torn, who I will compete against in Poland. It seems like a really nice package and it has good potential, ”he said.
“I’m excited to see how we will progress against Ken, the Group N cars, and how close we can get to the Rally2 cars.
“I’m really looking forward to driving in a four-wheel drive again. I haven’t done that many yet, this will be my first full gravel rally in all-wheel drive. It’s a great opportunity for me to develop even further as a driver because I still have relatively little experience. For me it made sense to have more time to create pacenotes and drive at an event of this kind, which is very similar to the Rally Estonia. ”
Armstrong is ranked 42nd for the Rally Poland, one car behind the reigning ERC 3 Junior Champion Torn. Brian Hoy will start in 34th place in a high quality Rally 2 entry.