Fri 29 Dec 2023

How ERC3 was won in 2023

Jon Armstrong was the class of the FIA ERC3 Championship pack in 2023, the Northern Irishman securing the coveted title with two events to spare aboard his M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 Evo.

But while Armstrong dominated alongside co-driver Cameron Fair, several others impressed, including Polish pair Jakub Matulka and Piotr Parys, who each finished on the podium twice.   

The champion: Jon Armstrong
Jon Armstrong didn’t look back after winning the season-opening Rally Serras de Fafe, Felgueiras, Boticas, Vieira do Minho e Cabeceiras de Basto in March with then co-driver Andrew Browne. Having triumphed on the northern Portugal gravel, Armstrong – now armed with an updated Fiesta Rally3 Evo and paired up with new navigator Fair – was a winner again on the all-Tarmac Rally Islas Canarias. He transferred that pace onto the high-tempo gravel stages of ORLEN 79th Rally Poland and Tet Rally Liepāja to make it four wins from four starts. After making his Rally2 debut at ERC level on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia, the then 28-year-old Armstrong returned to ERC3 action on Rally di Roma Capitale. Taking on Italian legend Paolo Andreucci, Armstrong bagged an impressive fifth victory. He was on course for a sixth win but crashed heavily on Barum Czech Rally Zlín. Fully recovered, Armstrong has previously revealed a strong interest in stepping up to the ERC’s headlining category in 2024, funding permitting.

The runner-up: Jakub Matulka
Jakub Matulka, a 23-year-old from Poland, finished second three times during his debut ERC3 campaign. Driving a Ford Fiesta Rally3, Matulka benefited from the experience of his co-driver Daniel Dymurski, the 2022 ERC3 champion navigator and a one-time outright ERC event winner.

The other winners: William Creighton and Igor Widłak
Called up to deputise for Jon Armstrong on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia, William Creighton (below) made the most of the opportunity by bagging a commanding victory on the high-speed Swedish gravel stages. Having not competed since securing the ERC3 title on Barum Czech Rally Zlín in 2022, Igor Widłak made an emotional comeback to the FIA European Rally Championship with a category win on the all-asphalt round.

The other impressive performers
Twenty-four-year-old Polish prospect Piotr Parys took his Fiesta Rally3 to back-to-back podiums in Poland and Latvia. Argentina’s Paulo Soria, the Clio Trophy by Toksport WRT winner from 2022, gave Renault’s Clio Rally3 its international debut in Poland (below) and claimed fourth place on his second outing in the car. Paolo Andreucci was behind the wheel of the Motorsport Italia-run machine when he finished second on his home event, Rally di Roma Capitale.

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM