Codemasters' Jon Armstrong ready for rough terrain of Rally Portugal

Junior WRC leader hoping to build on opening victory in Croatia

Thursday, 13th May 2021, 1:04 pm
Jon Armstrong remains focused on the task at hand (Image courtesy M-SPORT / JUNIOR WRC)

Junior WRC points leader Jon Armstrong will not rest on his laurels from Croatia Rally as he faces a new challenge in Rally Portugal. The formidable gravel event is Armstrong’s second Junior WRC round with three days of competitive action on 21-23 May, writes Adam Hall.

Croatia Rally provided a perfect start to Armstrong’s JWRC campaign, as he secured a maiden win in the world series. However, the 26-year-old knows the stages he will face in Portugal couldn’t be more different to Croatia’s asphalt roads.

Despite the differences, Armstrong’s methodical approach will remain the same. In fact, the Codemasters DiRT Rally Team driver reckons Portugal’s rough terrain might suit his stage-by-stage driving style.

Jon Armstrong on his way to victory in Croatia (Image courtesy M-SPORT / JUNIOR WRC)

“Just like I was before Croatia, I am not sure what to expect in terms of where we will be pace-wise,” explained Armstrong. “I think a similar approach will be beneficial in Portugal as it’s quite a tough rally on the car.

“You need to get through the stages as quick as you can but also as safe as you can.”

April’s Croatia Rally was Armstrong’s first rally in 14 months as well as his first event alongside English co-driver Phill Hall. The pair’s success proved their underlying potential and Armstrong is looking forward to seeing what they can do on gravel.

“The performance in Croatia gives me confidence that I can win events and I think we can only get better building on that.

“There are a lot of things we can improve on so I look forward to implementing them.”

Armstrong finished fourth on his only other visit to Rally Portugal five years ago. His rally was blighted by punctures but the result proved to Armstrong the value of fighting on in such an arduous event.

Big rocks, famous jumps, tarmac sections, and tyre wear are all on Armstrong’s watchlist this time around in Portugal. The 20-stage rally will cover 337 competitive kilometres between Friday and Sunday.

After their 33-second victory on Rally Croatia, Armstrong and Hall top the Junior WRC standings with 27 points. Latvia’s Martins Sesks is their nearest rival, nine points behind.

You can follow Armstrong’s progress on his Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram channels where there will be updates posted after every stage throughout the rally.