Jon Armstrong secured a top ten finish in WRC2 on Rally Spain but he came away frustrated from the event after tyre problems hampered his progress. 
The Fermanagh man’s entry for the rally was the second of his prize winning drives following his success in the Fiesta R2 last season, and after turning heads with an impressive showing on Rally Germany last month, hopes were high for Jon that he could once again impress in the R5 version of the car.
 Right from the off in Spain however he was hindered by tyre problems and punctures,
“It didn’t really go to plan and to be honest we were a bit disappointed after having such a good show of speed in Germany. ” admitted Jon. 
“We had a lot of issues. We had three punctures on Friday in the gravel and a lot of tyre wear as well because the compound was a bit too soft for the hot temperatures in Spain. 
“We struggled on Friday and there was dust coming in to the car as well from the gravel stages so it was pretty challenging.”
The unique format in Spain sees the stages switch from dusty gravel stages on Friday, to smooth twisty tarmac for the final two days. 
The change of surface brought little change of fortune for Jon however. 
“We drove as hard as we could but again we really struggled for pace on the tarmac,” he said. 
“We had a spin on the first stage on Saturday. Apart from that we didn’t have any more major issues but the power steering stopped working on one of the stages on Friday and one of the stages on Saturday as well. 
“That made it tough work. It was really technical and the temperatures were higher and the tarmac tyres were moving all over the road. 
“We were under-steering and it was generally hard to get grip and get that sort of race car feeling on the stages. The roads were twisty and wide and there was a lot of load on the tyres all the time so it was pretty hard. We had to do the best we could with what we had.”
Despite all his problems Jon finished ninth in WRC2 and 23rd overall in his final event of the 2017 season. His attention is now turning to next season, but at this stage he has no idea what 2018 has in store.
 “I’m not sure what is going to happen next,” he said. “There is nothing really in the pipeline yet. It was a great experience and a good challenge and it was good to show what we could do, but I just wish we could have shown a bit more in Spain. You never know, hopefully we will get back some day and be able to do it all again. It’s a very hard sport to stay at that level because it costs a crazy amount of money and it’s difficult to get anywhere without a big backer. We will have to do something to try to find come one to help us out, but that’s the hard part.”