Skip to content

Armstrong on top in epic Rally Sweden Junior WRC battle

Jon Armstrong and Brian Hoy have made the perfect start to their 2022 Junior WRC campaign. The Northern Irish pairing beat several Nordic and Baltic favourites to secure success on Rally Sweden’s snow event.

After finding their rhythm and a comfortable pace on Friday, Armstrong finished the opening day’s seven stages in second, 7.7 seconds behind Finnish driver Lauri Joona.

An incredible time on Saturday’s first stage, Brattby, allowed Armstrong to jump into the Rally Sweden lead for the first time. Armstrong mastered the uncharacteristically technical stage, finding his groove straightaway on the early morning test.

His lead was short-lived, however, as Joona bounced back on the faster Langed stage that followed. In fact, Armstrong was testing the limits of his new Ford Fiesta Rally3. Armstrong found himself powering through one of Sweden’s notorious snow banks on the tenth stage, under Hoy’s “keep it in her” instruction.

The pair survived but the morning’s drama put them over five seconds behind Joona at Saturday’s halfway point. A neat and tidy afternoon was on the agenda.

Fully focused on the job at hand, Armstrong duly delivered. He beat Joona on each of Saturday’s remaining stages to finish Rally Sweden’s penultimate day with a 3.5-second lead in Junior WRC.

Joona got the jump on Armstrong on Sunday’s first of four stages. The Finn set an impressive fastest-time on Vindeln to retake the Junior WRC lead by 0.5 seconds. Armstrong responded on the succeeding Sarsjoliden test, to reverse the difference to 0.5 seconds in his favour.

A second stage win in a row for Armstrong and Hoy gave them a 2.5-second lead with one run of Sarsjoliden remaining. Despite Joona’s best efforts on the 14-kilometre finale, Armstrong did enough to secure his maiden snow rally victory. An amazing and rare achievement for a driver based in the United Kingdom.

“I’m a bit surprised,” said a speechless Armstrong when told of his rally win. “First of all, I did not think I would be starting the season as it all came together very late, so I was just happy to start. “But the feeling was good at Shakedown and on Friday we made more progress. The fight against Lauri was very intense, I don’t think I have had such a tough fight against anyone before. I can’t believe it, to come here and win is crazy, I thought a podium would be good, to take the win is something else. Brian and I worked really hard, got on really well and the notes have been really good, it’s been easy to commit to the notes as they were really consistent. What a start to the championship!”

April’s Croatia Rally is up next for the Junior WRC crews. Armstrong will be hoping to defend his win from last year on the tricky asphalt event.

As it happened…
Stage // Stage result // O/A position

SS1 // 5th // 5th

SS2 // 3rd // 3rd

SS3 // 1st // 2nd

SS4 // 1st // 2nd

SS5 // 2nd // 2nd

SS6 // 2nd // 2nd

SS7 // 3rd // 2nd

SS8 // 2nd // 1st

SS9 // cancelled

SS10 // 4th // 2nd

SS11 // 4th // 2nd

SS12 // 3rd // 2nd

SS14 // 3rd // 2nd

SS15 // 1st // 1st

SS16 // 3rd // 2nd

SS17 // 1st // 1st

SS18 // 1st // 1st

SS19 // 3rd // 1st­
Final Junior WRC Rally Sweden results:
1 Armstrong 2:24:31.1s

2 Joona +2.7s

3 Creighton +2:22.5

4 Kimathi +47:24.2

5 Pajari +49:28.4

6 Virves +1:00:34.3

Junior WRC standings after Round 1 of 5
1 Armstrong / Hoy – 30 points

2 Joona / Korhonen – 21 pts

3 Pajari / Malkonen – 17

4 Creighton / Regan – 16

5 Kimathi / Kioni – 12

6 Virves / Lesk – 9

%d bloggers like this: