Jon Armstrong preparing for Azores Rally in European championship

Chance to improve in four-wheel-drive car on gravel on tight and technical stages

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Warwick driver Jon Armstrong and his co-driver Brian Hoy will compete on the second round of the 2022 European Rally Championship, the Azores Rally.

The duo from Fermanagh , who won the Junior section of Rally Sweden, will continue to man a Ford Fiesta Rally3 in Azores.

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Armstrong faces a gravel-heavy World Rally Championship campaign this year. Junior WRC’s inclusion of Rally Portugal and Acropolis Rally Greece in its 2022 calendar was a key factor in Armstrong’s assault on the Azores.

It isn't the first time the 27-year-old has competed in ERC. Armstrong used Rally Poland last year to prepare for Junior WRC's high-speed thriller in Estonia. In fact, Armstrong competed on the Azores Rally seven years ago in a front-wheel-drive Peugeot 208 R2.

His Poland visit allowed Armstrong to sample Rally3 machinery for the first time. He secured a debut Rally3 win that time around. Armstrong maintained his perfect Rally3 record on last month's Rally Sweden. Can he make it three from three in Azores?

Besides the excitement of another incredible opportunity to tackle some of the best stages in the world, Armstrong is focused on maximising the value he can get from his Azores Rally drive.

“I really want to improve myself on gravel in a four-wheel-drive car,” explained the 2021 Junior WRC runner-up, “especially on technical gravel stages.

“I did some fast events last year like Rally Poland but it is good to get more time in the car on these tight and technical stages. It should set us up nicely for Portugal and Greece.

“The stages are so difficult in Azores; technical, narrow, with a lot of elevation changes.

“You are always going up or downhill so you need to be on the ball with that. There are a lot of tight, short corners that can tempt you into carrying too much speed.

“It should be an important learning process for me. We’ll see what the recce is like and how the pacenotes go.

“We’ll maybe learn some new things from that side of things. It will be good practice for Brian and I because the pacenotes will be quite busy through the stages. It will let us see if there is too much or too little information in the notes.

“I’m really grateful that I can take this opportunity and I’m really grateful for everyone who has made it happen.”

The Azores Rally takes place on 26-27 March and will be live streamed on WRC+. Armstrong and Hoy will compete in ERC’s second tier, ERC3 which is for Rally3 cars.