News | 13/07/2021

Pajari in high spirits before Rally Estonia

Sami Pajari & Marko Salminen, the Finnish duo that holds second place in the FIA Junior WRC series before Rally Estonia, are heading to the World Rally Championship event in Tartu and Otepää with great confidence.

In the first rally of the season in Croatia, Pajari was sixth even after suffering a crash during the event. However, the fastest times on the special stages raised Pajari to third in championship points before Rally Portugal in May. In Portugal, a technical failure dropped Pajari to second place. As a whole, the beginning of the season has been good and the top places are always the goal.

Pajari has maintained the feeling by driving in the ERC series, which have resulted in 1st and 2nd places in the ERC3 Junior class from the first two rallies. The feeling for gravel as the surface is in top shape before the all-gravel event in Estonia. In both ERC rallies the roads have also been relatively high-speed, which Rally Estonia too offers in large quantities.

In total, 24 special stages with a length of 314 kilometers will be run in the competition. In addition to the Shakedown stage, there will be a short super special stage on Thursday. On Friday there will be 8 special stages, 9 special stages on Saturday and 6 more special stages on Sunday.

When the recce started on Tuesday, Pajari & Salminen duo was in a relaxed mood.

This is the first World Rally Championship event where I can partly use my old notes as a basis. A couple of stages are exactly the same as last year and some have new sections in the beginning or in the end. Of course, something completely new is also included. There has always been fast-paced races here and the audience is downright fanatical, so the atmosphere will definitely be spectacular, says Pajari.

As in rallies so many times, the weather is always an interesting factor and so it is in Estonia too.

- Temperatures of more than 30 degrees have been promised for the rest of the week, so the tires, the car and the crews are in for a tough rally, even though we are talking about a fast-paced race, co-driver Salminen estimates.

- The level of competition in the series this year is extremely high, and no free seconds are available to anyone. The assumption is that on these high-speed roads, no one will run away from the others, but the seconds will be fought until the very end of the rally and more drivers will be able to drive fastest times.

- Last year we hit a concrete obstacle that damaged the steering, we struggled with it a few stages before service and then tried to catch the lead. Sesks, who leads the series now, took the win by less than 15 seconds. This year, we have to drive a couple of centimeters more accurately in a few turns, Pajari says.