After a two-month break, the World Rally Championship swings back into action on April’s Croatia Rally. Jon Armstrong and Brian Hoy will be hoping to continue their winning form on Junior WRC’s second round of 2022.
Armstrong and Hoy currently lead Junior WRC by nine points after pipping Finland’s Lauri Joona and Mikael Korhonen to a season-opening Rally Sweden victory.
The County Fermanagh duo also impressed with giant-killing speed in a one-off European Rally Championship appearance on March’s Azores Rally.
The EA Sports Rally Team driver scored his debut Rally4 win in Croatia last year. Coupled with Armstrong’s positive momentum, another strong result on the asphalt rally should be possible.
“I’m looking forward to going back to Croatia again, it was a really good event for me last year,” said Armstrong. “That was my first ever Junior WRC victory and it seems much longer than a year ago.
“Croatia Rally is a very demanding event, completely different to other asphalt rallies. There is a lot of time to be made if you take risks so we will try to get an early feel for the conditions and take it from there.”
Armstrong was in a Ford Fiesta Rally4 12 months ago. His Rally3 car has four-wheel-drive this time around which makes things somewhat different.
“The Rally3 Fiesta should be nice to drive on tarmac but it will need a different approach to braking and accelerating through corners.
“I’ll try to get the car moving in a nice way which is the same general aim as you’ll have in any car.
“Overall, the style will be quite similar but as always I will need to maximise everything to the last tenth.”
Another change for Armstrong in 2022 has been the introduction of Brian Hoy as his co-driver. It has proved to be a successful pairing so far and last year’s Junior WRC runner-up is the first to recognise the importance of his in-car partnership.
“I’m really looking forward to working with Brian again in Croatia.
“He has got on really well so far and it is enjoyable building and improving the pacenotes together.
“Croatia is one of the toughest rallies for writing pacenotes so that will be a key area for us in the build-up to the rally.”
Based in Zagreb, Croatia Rally takes place across 20 stages on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday (21-24 April). Crews will tackle 292 stage kilometres after Thursday morning’s shakedown.
“This is an important rally for us and another chance to build on our strong start to the season.
“We’ll be doing everything we can to maximise our performance throughout Croatia’s mix of demanding asphalt surfaces.
“I am excited for the challenge, thanks to all of our sponsors and supporters who have given us the chance to defend my win from last year.”
Photos courtesy of Junior WRC