News | 20/01/2022

Monte-Carlo starts Pajari’s international 4WD career

Sami Pajari heads to the new season with Enni Mälkönen by his side as the co-driver at the always challenging Rallye Monte-Carlo. The pair drives an M-Sport Poland-prepared Ford Fiesta Rally3. For both of them Monte-Carlo is a new experience, but that does not shake last season’s Junior World Rally Champion Pajari.

While the rally starting on Thursday evening is the premiere event for the new era of hybrid Rally1 WRC cars, for Pajari it is the opening night for his career in a four wheel drive rally car on the international stage. The last year introduced Rally3 cars form the basis of the new and updated WRC3 and Junior WRC classes and currently the only model available is the Ford Fiesta Rally3. It is not, however, the first outing for the Pajari - Mälkönen duo in a Rally3 car: the pair competed in a similar car also in the Finnish Rally Championship finale last autumn and have also had a thorough pre-event testing session for this event.

“We have driven tests for three days for this event, and tried to find similar conditions to test in that we expect to encounter during the weekend. But it is not easy for sure, when the weather can be just about anything. It looks like we have less snow and ice than expected, but it can of course change quickly. Otherwise the roads are like I expected them to be,” Pajari sums up the preparations for the event.

Monte-Carlo is perhaps the most important cornerstone of the whole series and both excitement and great respect for the event are well visible on Pajari’s looks.

“It is an iconic event, it’s marvelous to be here. It’s my first time here and the challenge is great, but I’m also very excited. Our ice crew could not be better, as Teemu Asunmaa and Marko Salminen, both my trusted friends and experienced competitors, are checking and warning us of the conditions ahead of us. We have not set exact expectations regarding the results, as this is just a single rally for us outside all championships, and are here to gain experience of both the car and the event”, Pajari concludes.

The first special stage starts on Thursday evening and the final and 17th special stage on Sunday afternoon. The 17 stages measure altogether to 296 competitive kilometers, which will give Pajari and Mälkönen a proper introduction to rallying a Rally3 on the winding roads of the legendary Monte-Carlo.

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