Armstrong primed for ERC success

Friday 12 April 2024

After a strong 2023 season, Motorsport UK Academy Team UK graduate Jon Armstrong embarks on his career’s next chapter. Having impressed when winning last year’s WRC3 title, the 29-year-old Northern Irelander is stepping up into a factory-entered M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 for the super-competitive 2024 FIA European Rally Championship which blasts off in Hungary this weekend. 

“It is a dream come true to have the opportunity to complete a full year behind the wheel of a Rally2 car. We’ve been working on this for numerous years and I’m very grateful to M-Sport for the opportunity,” said an understandably thrilled Armstrong who first came to prominence in the virtual world when winning the 2018 eSports WRC Championship. 

Since switching back to the real world, Armstrong’s progression has been closely linked to M-Sport cars and the Cumbrian company is now delighted to be stepping its support for the rising star. 

“Jon’s achievements in 2023 exemplify the talent and potential we strive to support at M-Sport,” confirmed Malcolm Wilson, M-Sport UK Chairman. “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.” 

Richard Millener, M-Sport WRC Team Principal, also has been following Armstrong’s career for many years. “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. For sure, the ERC is a big step for him now, but we all believe in him and will try to support him with his new adventure,” promised Millener. 

Underlining the task ahead, the eight-round ERC has attracted no fewer than 28 Rally2 entries with eight manufacturers represented: Citroën, Hyundai, Opel, Peugeot, Skoda, Toyota and VW as well as M-Sport-Ford. Moreover, the top three drivers from 2023 – Hayden Paddon, Mārtiņš Sesks and Mads Østberg – are all renewing their rivalries and will be among the pre-season favourites. 

“ERC is an intense challenge with a very high standard in terms of drivers and lots of competition,” admitted Armstrong. “I see it as the ideal place to prove myself, the team, and the car. Each rally has its own unique character and especially this season there’s some new events that should keep everyone on their toes.” 

Providing the perfect proving ground for all the aspiring talents, the revised 2024 calendar includes rounds on both gravel and asphalt surfaces. Following this weekend’s curtain-raiser in Hungary, the challenging schedule also visits Spain (Gran Canaria), Sweden, Estonia, Italy and Czech Republic, plus new rounds in Poland and, of course, Rali Ceredigion which sees the ERC return to Wales for the first time in 28 years.