Wed 27 Mar 2024

Armstrong in ERC dreamland with M-Sport Fiesta Rally2 chance

Jon Armstrong is set to graduate in style after being handed a “dream” step-up opportunity in the FIA European Rally Championship with M-Sport.

Last season’s ERC3 champion will pilot a Ford Fiesta Rally2 across the eight-event ERC season having previously competed in M-Sport Fiesta Rally4 and Fiesta Rally3 machinery. 

According to M-Sport, the multiple title-winning FIA World Rally Championship team, “the new partnership recognises Armstrong’s achievements across WRC and ERC feeder categories, whilst representing M-Sport’s long-standing tradition to present new opportunities to up-and-coming talent”.  

M-Sport’s statement continued: “Not unfamiliar to an M-Sport-built Fiesta, Armstrong has been driving Fiesta Rally4 and Rally3 machinery since 2021. Just missing out on a title win in his debut Junior WRC season, he claimed two wins across four events in the Rally4. Armstrong’s determination to climb up through the categories was clear, and he would also claim a Junior ERC3 win on Rally Poland in the same year, his first outing in the Fiesta Rally3”.

After finishing runner-up in Junior WRC in 2022, Armstrong, from Northern Ireland, excelled on his ERC switch for 2023, taking the title with five wins out of six starts. He also scored points when he tried a Fiesta Rally2 for size on BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia last July in 11th overall.  

“It is a dream come true to have the opportunity to complete a full year behind the wheel of a Rally2 car,” said the 29-year-old Armstrong, who will be co-driven by Eoin Treacy. “We’ve been working on this for numerous years and I’m very grateful to M-Sport for the opportunity along with support from the MI Rally Academy, Seacon UK, C&M Motorsport Sales, and all of my close partners.  

“It is brilliant to be working closely with Eoin and the MI Academy this year and I am really proud to be representing the rallying community at home. I am excited to collaborate with the other MI Academy members and to work towards our goals together.”

Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport UK chairman, who has guided the careers of a host of young drivers over the years, said: “Jon’s achievements in 2023 exemplify the talent and potential we strive to support at M-Sport. Our philosophy has always centred on identifying and nurturing young drivers, providing them with the platform to excel at the highest levels of rallying. Jon’s progression so far and this new chapter with us for the 2024 ERC is a testament to our tradition of fostering talent and ambition in the sport." 

Maciej Woda, whose M-Sport Poland operation has performed a key role in Armstrong’s career progression, added: “We have had a long-term relationship with Jon, starting back in 2016. He has had a lot of ups and downs over this time, but the one thing which you could always see from Jon was pure speed and desire to fight on the stages.

“This is why went to the European championship with Jon last year, to show the potential of Fiesta Rally3, but what he achieved exceeded our expectations. For sure, it’s a big step for him now, but we all believe in him and will try to support him with his new adventure.”

V-Híd Rally Hungary, based in the city of Veszprém, south of the capital Budapest, opens the 2024 ERC season from 12 - 14 April.  

Car images: Keane Design

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