Armstrong new man behind the wheel
Neil Armstrong, the highest placed two-wheel-drive finisher in Sol Rally Barbados for the past two years, is the new driver of the Simpson Motors/MML Suzuki SX4 WRC.
He will replace Sean Gill who has decided to pull out of a full time motorsport programme to concentrate on family matters, but said he would be back sometime in the future.
Armstrong is back home from an intensive test programme in Wales with the Suzuki, under the watchful eye of triple British Rally champion Mark Higgins, which included two days on gravel at Walter’s Arena, one of the most popular venues at Britain’s round of the World Rally Championship, Wales Rally GB.
He said it was an eye-opening experience, noting that the stages were authentic Wales Rally GB challenges – some fast and flowing, followed by tight hairpins, up and down, and all on a perfectly manicured surface.
“The Suzuki SX4 WRC is absolutely amazing. The turn-in is unbelievable, how it stops, how it reacts, how you can just lob it into a corner, get on the brakes and then just power out, with minimal steering input,” he said.
“I have driven a four-wheel-drive car before – an Evo VI – and the only similarities between the SX4 and the Evo are that they are both four-wheel-drive and they both have a steering wheel.”
“Every aspect of the SX4 is just better and improved to a level that I am only beginning to comprehend. I am so looking forward to driving it in Trinidad and then in Barbados.”
The Barbados Rally Club’s (BRC) Rookie Of The Year in 2002, Armstrong has since won five BRC class championships; two each in Group N and Group A, followed by a fifth-placed finish in the SuperModified 10 in a Toyota Starlet last year. He will be joined by regular co-driver Barry Ward for the 24-stage March 23 to 24 event in Trinidad and Tobago.