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Fermanagh’s Jon Armstrong delighted to remain in Junior World Rally title mix after podium finish in Estonia


Joint leader: Jon Armstrong finished in third place in Rally Estonia

Joint leader: Jon Armstrong finished in third place in Rally Estonia

Joint leader: Jon Armstrong finished in third place in Rally Estonia

Kesh driver Jon Armstrong now jointly leads the FIA Junior World Rally Championship standings after securing a top three finish on the penultimate round of the series on Rally Estonia.

Armstrong and team-mate Brian Hoy finished the loose surface event third behind runner-up Robert Virves and defending champion Sami Pajari who made it back-to-back JWRC victories.

The Northern Irish duo started the Sunday leg second overall, but a combination of car-related issues and a breath-taking display of speed by Virves on home soil meant they finished 44.5 seconds behind him.

The result sets up an exciting winner takes all, four-way decider on September’s iconic Acropolis Rally where bonus points, in addition to points for fastest stages times, will be up for grabs.

“It was good to make the finish, especially in such tricky conditions,” said Armstrong.

“It’s good to get a podium and still be in the fight for the Championship going into Greece.

“Of course, it would have been nice to have finished higher up the leaderboard on this one, but we just have to look forward now and do a good job on the final round because no one really knows how that is going to pan out.”

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Toyota Gazoo Racing’s Kalle Rovanpera extended his lead in the World Rally Championship standings to 83 points over Hyundai’s Thierry Neuville after recording a resounding victory at Rally Estonia - his fifth of 2022.

Rovanpera – who went fastest on 13 of the 24 special stages – finished over a minute in front of team-mate Elfyn Evans. “I really don’t have any more words to describe Kalle’s performances,” said team boss Jari-Matti Latvala. “Once again, in such extreme conditions, he has been phenomenal.

“I don’t know where it is coming from but it is clear to see that he is on another planet,” added Latvala.

Hyundai’s Ott Tanak was a distant third, the best part of two minutes behind the young Finn after a series of set-up and mechanical problems affected his car’s performance across each of the three legs.

Closer to home, meanwhile, and Josh Moffett wrapped up the defence of his Irish National Rally Championship drivers’ title with a sixth consecutive win on yesterday’s Tipperary Stonethrowers Rally.

At the wheel of a Hyundai i20 R5, Moffett only required seven points from the Clonmel-based meeting to be sure of his second Vard Memorial Trophy.

His win ratio equalled a record previously set by his older brother Sam when he was confirmed champion of the Motorsport Ireland competition back in 2017.

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