As the WRC circus heads to Croatia this weekend, EA SPORTS Rally has released an interesting video feature about their Junior WRC driver Jon Armstrong, charting his path from esports success to his present-day rallying exploits.
The Northern Irishman won the 2018 WRC Esports championship after his rally career faltered due to a lack of funding, and the switch to esports resulted in a job offer from Codemasters – makers of the DiRT Rally franchise.
Sponsorship from Codemasters helped Armstrong back onto the stages, resulting in a 2020 Junior WRC appearance on Rally Sweden. However, a huge crash threatened to shake the 27-year old’s confidence despite an impressive turn of pace.
However, he bounced back brilliantly in 2021, taking two JWRC wins but falling just short of the title. For 2022, and thanks to EA’s takeover of Codemasters last year, Armstrong is being backed by the newly formed EA SPORTS Rally team. The timing is no coincidence either, as EA and Codemasters take over the rights to produce officially licensed WRC videogames from 2023 onwards – recently rebranding the DiRT Rally social media pages to ‘EA SPORTS Rally’.
Armstrong is fulfilling his end of the bargain meantime, as he convincingly won the opening round of the 2022 JWRC in Sweden, exorcising some of the demons from two years previously.
After winning in Croatia last year, we wouldn’t bet against another Armstrong victory, or of perhaps seeing him move up the WRC ranks in 2023 and beyond.
His role as a Game Designer at EA Codemasters should also give WRC gaming fans confidence that the WRC licence is in safe hands beyond Kylotonn’s WRC11 this year.
Featured image courtesy of Jon Armstrong’s Twitter feed. Second image by Motorsport Images.