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Armstong eighth overall, Raftery and Brennan fourth and fifth in Juniors as Rally Academy delivers a stellar performance at Rally Hungary 

Jon Armstrong was full of praise for his new co-driver Eoin Treacy after the Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy crew finished an impressive eighth overall on their FIA European Rally Championship debut in Hungary over the weekend. 

Armstrong and Rally Academy co-driver Eoin Treacy finished day one in tenth place in their first full day in a Ford Fiesta Rally2. 


Throughout Sunday’s loop of six gravel stages Armstrong and Treacy continued to learn their M-Sport-supported Ford Fiesta car, they raised the suspension settings at the rally’s midday service in Veszprem and despite a mid-afternoon overshoot, he maintained his morning top ten position into the afternoon.

Their improvements paid dividends and they met a pre-event target of finishing in the top ten by taking eighth overall. 

For co-driver Treacy this is his first taste of frontline FIA European Rally Championship action and while he has some WRC2 experience this was his maiden voyage at the coalface of European competition. 

Armstrong was full of praise for his new co-pilot for his efforts inside and outside the car. 

“Eoin is doing a fantastic job, it's a very demanding rally for our first rally together. He is coping with it fantastically and we're enjoying it. Even making changes throughout the stage, we're happy,” he said. 

“Pretty good rally, to get top 10 is nice, I tried in there but we're a little bit low on how fresh our tyres are now. We learned a big nugget of knowledge, we'll take it now onto Asphalt and see how that goes, big thanks to M-Sport and our team, Motorsport Ireland Academy,” he added after the final PowerStage on Sunday evening. 

The Irish crew earned one bonus point on the PowerStage and left Hungary with 12 points and in eighth place in the FIA European Rally Championship. 


Junior European Rally Championship 

The Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy fielded two cars in the Junior element of Rally Hungary. 

Both Aoife Raftery and Jack Brennan competed in a pair of Peugeot 208 Rally4s and both drivers did not disappoint despite the challenging nature of the all-gravel rally. 

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy driver Aoife Raftery had her best performance to date in an FIA European Rally Championship by finishing fourth overall, three places better than her previous best, seventh in the Czech Republic last season.

Now in her second season in the Junior ERC competition, the Craughwell-based driver and her Antrim co-driver finished a sensational fourth overall in the Junior element of the opening round of the 2024 European Rally Championship. 

The event got underway on Friday night but the Craughwell-based driver completed six demanding loose surface stages near the town of Veszprem on Saturday. 

She and co-driver Hannah McKillop honoured that promise, their Peugeot showing battle scars, a testament to just how hard they were trying. 

Road conditions were rough and the ambient heat was not making it any easier for the crews but Raftery, was exceeding her self-set pre-event targets. Sunday was no different, the rally threw everything at the two Irish women, including a front-right puncture, which in turn damaged both the power steering and the car’s cooling.

Her team of PCRS Rallysport mechanics worked miracles to have all the offending parts either repaired or replaced within the allocated 15-minute service time. 

She started the final stage in third place but she was perilously close to her teammate Jack Brennan, just 18 seconds separated the two Irish drivers with three rough and challenging stages left to run.

Also in the mix was Swedish driver Mille Johnason to leapfrog both Irish drivers and snare third place on the final test.

In the end, the Galway driver was just 6.1 seconds off her maiden podium finish.


“Great to be at the end of Rally Hungary, some fantastic stages, a huge thanks to everybody who helped me get here, and PCRS in service,” she said. 

“I would have taken fourth [out of 17 starters} on Friday, we were very close to third and hopefully we can see that again this year. Thanks to Hannah who did an incredible job and to all at the Rally Academy for their help.” 


Jack Brennan made a very impressive European Rally Championship debut by taking fifth place in Rally Hungary.

Motorsport Ireland Rally Academy member Jack Brennan, on his maiden European outing, bedded himself perfectly over the three days of action in Hungary. 

The Billy Coleman Award winner from Moincoin and his Enniscorthy-based co-driver John McGrath were seventh and exceeding pre-event targets after Saturday’s challenging loop. 

They have signed up for the FIA Junior European Rally Championship for the first time and the Peugeot 208 Rally4 crew are part of a two-car Rally Academy team entered in the Hungarian event that also includes Galway’s Aoife Raftery. 

They upped their pace on Sunday and climbed from seventh to fourth – just 18 seconds behind teammate Raftery.

However., like Raftery, he was outpaced by the hard-charging and more experienced Johannson but ended the rally in an impressive fifth finish in what was – so far- the biggest event in 19-year-old Brennan’s short career. 

He said: “If you had told me on Friday evening that we would finish fifth I would have laughed at you. It was one of the toughest weekends rallying but delighted to finish. We learned a lot and there is a lot to take on board ahead of the Canaries, Thanks to the Academy and all my sponsors for their support” 


Rally Academy founder and patron John Coyne summed up the weekend perfectly.

He said: “It was fabulous, Jon did really well and he and Eoin worked so well together, picking up a PowerStage bonus point. And then Aoife and Jack – just fantastic. I mean 17 starters and to end up fourth and fifth was absolutely fantastic.” 


V-Híd Rally Hungary was based in the city of Veszprém, 120km south of the capital Budapest

Text By Sean Moriarty

Pics By M-Sport / PCRS / Motorsport Ireland Rally academy / Sean Moriarty & Adam O'Brien

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