News | 18/07/2021

Pajari claims a historic win in the Junior World Rally Championship

Finnish future star Sami Pajari restored Finland’s reputation in the Rally Junior World Championship. The previous victory for a Finn is from Turkey 2003 when Kosti Katajamäki took a win in the JWRC series. Pajari dominated the race from start to finish and took a convincing lead in the special stages on Thursday and Friday, after which the situation could be controlled.

Finnish duo Sami Pajari - Marko Salminen started the Estonian WRC event with good points in second place of the JWRC standings, 9 points behind Latvian Martins Sesks. Pajari drove the fastest time in the opening test on Thursday evening and continued with the same pace for the first six stages in Friday. After nine special stages, Pajari had at this point driven fastest times for the first seven special stages of the competition. The lead margin for second-placed British driver Jon Armstrong was 12.9 seconds.

Saturday’s tactic was to keep the lead safe without taking any big risks. In the opening special of the day, Pajari increased his lead to behind, although he was not the fastest. The lead was then 26.9 seconds and this enabled the control for the rest of the day, especially on the worse road sections. The tactical driving worked great before the last day of the rally, Pajari had increased his lead to the Slovak Martin Koci by 38,2 seconds.

Pajari was in a wait-and-see mood before Sunday’s special stages

- All in all, everything has gone according to the plan, there is really nothing special to tell about competition when there has been no drama. We are going to continue to drive safely and accurately, Pajari stated.

Pajari’s six special stages on Sunday went without surprises, avoiding risks and mistakes. There was a tough battle for the other podium places, with Sesks starting as the leader in the standings aiming to rise to second place over Armstrong, but was eventually third while Koci retired in the last stage of the rally.

Pajari rose to the JWRC series lead with 71 points. Second after three rallies is Sesks, who is four points away from Pajari. Armstrong completes the top 3 with 56 points.

- One intermediate goal achieved in the career now, although of course the main goal is to win the championship. Huge thanks to everyone who has supported me in achieving this goal. We don’t have time to enjoy this win as we have our next rally already in the upcoming week.

It is noteworthy that Rally Estonia was the eighth JWRC rally in Pajar's career, in each of which he has managed to drive at least one fastest time, so there has been no lack of speed during his career in the JWRC, which started in the 2019 edition of Rally Finland.

Pajari's tight race season will continue July 23-25, when it’s the turn for the third rally of the European Rally Championship, Rally Roma di Capitale. Pajari leads the ERC3 and ERC3 Junior classes in the European Championship series. The next Junior WRC event will run from August 13-15 at the Ypres Rally in Belgium.

Results, JWRC Rally Estonia:

1. Sami Pajari (FIN) 3:19:03.2

2. Jon Armstrong (GBR) +24,1

3. Mārtiņš Sesks (LAT) +56,4

4. Lauri Joona (FIN) +3:43,7

5. Raul Badiu (ROM) +4:42,3

Standings, JWRC after 3/5 events:

1. Sami Pajari (FIN) 71

2. Mārtiņš Sesks (LAT) 67

3. Jon Armstrong (GBR) 56

4. Lauri Joona (FIN) 40

5. Martin Koci (SVK) 34