You are here


Jon Armstrong narrowly leads Sami Pajari in an epic Junior WRC Championship fight which has seen the pair draw level on Wolf Stage Win Points after the first day of action on RallyRACC Catlunya.

Armstrong came out of the blocks with a storming performance on the opening stage of the rally, opening up a lead of 9.7 seconds. The Northern Irishman extended his lead up to 22 seconds after taking his third stage win of the rally on stage four.

Championship rival Sami Pajari started the day third but found his rhythm by the end of the first loop and returned to the service park second in the Junior WRC classification following a stage win on stage three.

In the second loop of the day Pajari chipped away at Armstrong’s lead to close his Friday running 15.9 seconds behind the Junior WRC leader.

Martins Sesks came into Rally Spain as a championship contender but his pace on Friday left a lot to be desired for, ending the day over one minute down on Armstrong. The Latvian can still win the championship but has a lot of work to do from this point with his chances looking bleak at best.

Elsewhere in the Junior WRC field William Creighton came into the event as a potential contender for the event victory but his hopes were soon dashed following a mistake on the opening stage of the rally, ending his day early. The Irishman will restart the rally on Saturday morning where he can still fight for precious Wolf Stage Win Points in his bid for fifth in the championship.

Lauri Joona put in an impressive performance on the Spanish stages to end his day in third after a mistake free day while Estonia’s Robert Virves sits fourth after a clean and uneventful day.

Maciej Woda, FIA Junior WRC Championship Manager, said: “Jon Armstrong and Sami Pajari are in a league of their own right now and proving why they are the championship contenders. I have been impressed with both drivers today, Jon has got in the car with zero kilometres of testing and got on the pace straight away which is not easy. Sami on the other hand is on a surface and event he has little experience of but is showing he has what it takes to win. Right now, it is anyone’s guess as to who will win but it is looking like we are going to have an epic battle to decide this year’s champion. Martins Sesks so far seems to have really struggled and has a lot of work to do now to bring his championship hopes back to life. It was a shame to see William Creighton retire from the day so early on as I was really looking forward to seeing what he could do after his performance in Belgium. He will restart the rally tomorrow and I think he will be challenging for some Wolf Stage Win Points.”

Jon Armstrong, Junior WRC Rally Leader, said: “We had a good start to the rally on the first stage, fell into a good rhythm straight away. It was a matter of just trying to keep that rhythm throughout the day, but it was quite demanding with the high temperate and tyre wear as well as the pollution with the cuts. Same plan again for tomorrow.”