Jon Armstrong and Brian Hoy opened their JWRC account in Sweden in winning fashion

Kesh’s Jon Armstrong is confident he can build on his Rally Sweden victory as he bids to be crowned Junior World Rally champion this season.

Armstrong returned maximum points on the opening round of the one-make series, finishing just 2.7 seconds clear of Finnish opponent Lauri Joona after 19 special stages.

The result, which was in stark contrast to Armstrong’s previous visit to Sweden two seasons ago when he crashed out in spectacular fashion, was all the more impressive as he didn’t get to test beforehand.

The next two events take Junior World Rally Championship crews to Croatia in mid-April and Portugal four weeks later, before the focus shifts to Estonia and Greece in mid-summer.

Even at this early juncture, Armstrong – the JWRC runner-up in 2021 – believes his winning run will continue. “We won in Croatia last year, our pace was very good in Portugal and it was also good in Estonia.

The only one I haven’t done is Greece, so it should be possible to keep this going,” he said. “It’s just a matter of working hard and trying to put maximum effort in to try and make it all possible.”

A strong performance was important in Sweden said Armstrong, especially as his shunt had dominated the narrative in the days building up to it. “The last time I came to Sweden it didn’t end well,” he said.

“That was getting thrown in front of me, so obviously I was keen to get a better result this time around, I worked really hard to make sure the pace notes were good, so I was able to drive really fast to them.

“It was a lot of fun. The battle was intense,” he added. “I don’t think I’ve ever had a battle for a win that close before, it was quite interesting and I’m sure it was interesting for everyone following it, too.

“In terms of testing, I think I’m probably used to coming to these events without it now and I think it’s something I’m quite comfortable with. I know in shakedown I can get used to the car quite quickly.

“It’s something I’m quite familiar with so it’s not so bad but I guess a test would make me even faster. Hopefully we can go testing for the rest of the year; I’ll probably need it against some of the drivers.”

FIA Junior World Rally Championship Manager Manager Maciej Woda was full of praise for Armstrong’s performance in Umea last weekend and described the manner of the 26-year-old’s victory over Joona as “brilliant”.  

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