Fermanagh’s Jon Armstrong is no stranger to rallying, both in real-life and virtual stages.

The Junior World Rally Championship competitor was hoping to show his speed in the globetrotting series this year but with the 2020 WRC calendar hit with cancellations and postponements, Armstrong has focused on virtual rallying instead.

The 2018 WRC Esports champion has joined forces with sim-racing hardware powerhouse, Thrustmaster, to create his own online rally championship.

The Jon Armstrong Thrustmaster eRally Series includes four rounds on Dirt Rally 2.0 starting with Rally Germany between May 15-22.

The drivers in Armstrong’s online championship will compete in R5 specification cars with £1000 worth of prizes on offer.

The weekly rounds will culminate on Rally New Zealand in June.

“I am super pleased to bring my own eRally series to my fans and the community of Dirt Rally 2.0,” said Armstrong.

“With the amazing support of Thrustmaster, we have some fantastic prizes on offer and I am sure we will see some exciting battles take place.

“I have chosen events which I have special memories of competing in, both in real life and virtually.”

Armstrong’s eRally series received 700 entries within its first 24 hours including Pedro Silva who won the European Rally Championship’s Azores Virtual Rally earlier this year.

Interest in virtual rallying has increased dramatically since the coronavirus-enforced lockdown restrictions. Armstrong’s real-life and virtual successes in rallying have made him a popular figure with over 4000 people subscribing to his YouTube channel.

“I wanted to give something back to the fans and obviously the prizes provided by Thrustmaster give them something to aim for as well.

“I’ve got a really good link with the marketing team in Thrustmaster, and it didn’t take much convincing to get their support.

“Sim rallying and racing has been a crucial part in keeping me and a lot of other motorsport people sane in this period.

“That’s another reason why I wanted to do the competition, to give people more to do.

“People really like doing competitions, even if they’re not the fastest, they enjoy sharing their experiences.”