Tuesday | 17 May 2022

Armstrong eyes Junior retribution in Portugal

Jon Armstrong hopes to return to winning ways in the FIA Junior WRC at Vodafone Rally de Portugal this week (19 - 22 May).

The Ulsterman made a dream start to the year with a victory at Rally Sweden, but the tables were turned at the Croatia Rally last month when he suffered mechanical issues and went off the road.

Armstrong now shares the championship lead with Finnish driver Lauri Joona and starts the round three of the series off the back of a heavy crash at Rally Islas Canarias last weekend. 

He believes a measured approach on the classic gravel speed tests could be the secret to success.

“It’s one of those events where you probably have to try and survive more than have raw pace,” mused Armstrong. “But of course, if you don’t push then you can get left behind as well. 

Joona claimed his maiden win last time out

“I think it’s a matter of seeing how the first few stages go and then trying to build on from there,” he added.

Joona will be searching for a second consecutive victory after claiming his maiden triumph in Croatia, while Sami Pajari is another man looking to get his season back on track. The defending champion ended a lowly fifth after fuel pump issues in Sweden and crashed out of the Croatia lead during the final day. 

William Creighton is hoping that previous experience on Portuguese roads will come in handy. He finished fifth here last year and agreed with Armstrong’s ‘survival’ approach.   

Creighton is counting on previous knowledge

“We were fortunate that Rally Portugal was part of last year’s Junior WRC which means I have some decent knowledge of the stages and what we can expect this weekend,” he explained. 

“This rally is very unforgiving and amplifies any mistakes at all. It’s going to be a marathon, but we are ready for the challenge and I feel confident."

Kimathi teams up with Loudon for Portugal

Kimathi teams up with Loudon for ...

FIA Junior WRC rookie Mcrae Kimathi will be co-driven by Stuart Loudon at Vodafone Rally de Portugal this week (19 - 22 May).

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Robert Virves will bid to banish all memories of his Croatia Rally heartbreak, while Kenyan driver Mcrae Kimathi rounds off the M-Sport Poland Ford Fiesta Rally3 entry list with new co-driver Stuart Loudon alongside.

Frenchman Jean Baptiste Franceschi was initially on the entry but has since withdrawn from this year’s championship. 

  • Full coverage from Vodafone Rally de Portugal will be available on WRC+ All Live here, including every stage broadcast as it happens as well as key interviews, features and expert analysis from the service park