News | 25/07/2021

Pajari paces to podium in Rome

Sami Pajari and Marko Salminen started Rally di Roma Capitale, the third round of the European Rally Championship with lead in both the ERC3 and ERC3 Junior classes. The success and victory in the previous weekend’s Junior WRC round in Estonia was long gone when the pair got to taste the scorching Italian sun and the hot tarmac roads around the capital.

The rally started on Friday with only one stage scheduled at the heart of Rome. The little less than 3 kilometres of competitive driving saw the Pajari & Salminen duo lose over 13 seconds. Saturday, however, got a much smoother start, as Pajari clocked the fastest time for the first stage of the day. On the second stage brake issues slowed down the pace again and as a result the top-3 times evaded the pair for the rest of the day.

“It’s been quite an up and downhill journey. I overheated the breaks on the downhill sections of the second stage, which meant we needed to bleed them on the liaison section. Then I needed to figure out a new style of driving for the rest of the day. The car has a good setup though and even the speed wasn’t that lost in the end,” Pajari summarises Saturday’s stages before the overnight break.

After 6 stages Pajari was 6th in ERC3 Junior class at 1 minute and 38 seconds behind the leader. In ERC3 Pajari’s position was 8th, two minutes behind the leader.

Sunday’s itinerary consisted of seven special stages and more than 120 competitive kilometers. The theme of the day for Pajari was to collect as much experience and confidence as possible from competing on the hot tarmac roads. As the pace was getting better, by mid-day service break Pajari had already hauled himself on the fourth place in ERC3 Juniors and fifth in ERC3 class.

“It’s just a bit of a struggle with confidence now, nothing else. We still have a few stages to go, let’s focus on those,” Pajari thought before the last few stages of the rally

The last loop of four special stages on Sunday was completed late in the evening. The Pajari - Salminen pair finally found themselves third in the ERC3 Junior class and fourth in the ERC3 class. In the end only the top of the classes remained ahead, where the fight for victory had been fierce. France’s Jean-Baptiste Franceschi won only by 0,1 seconds ahead of Spain’s Alejandro Cachón. The winner of the ERC3 class was Spain’s Mas Josep Bassas, who crossed the finish line 2,7 seconds faster than Franceschi. Pajari’s time difference to the winner Bassas was three and a half minutes.

“Maybe I expected a better result from this rally, but we had quite a lot of problems along the way. In the end, however, we handled them quite well. All in all the most important thing was to get all the possible mileage from the tarmac stages.”

Pajari’s season will continue in the Junior World Rally Championship, with the penultimate event of the season, the Ypres Rally, 13-15 August in Belgium.

Results, ERC3 Junior: Rally di Roma Capitale:

1. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi (FRA) 2:03:22.0

2. Alejandro Cachón (ESP) +0.1

3. Sami Pajari (FIN) +3:30.2

4. Martin László (HUN) +4:33.4

5. Nick Loof (GER) +4:56.8

Unofficial standings, ERC3 Junior 3/6:

1. Sami Pajari (FIN) 92

2. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi (FRA) 77

3. Nick Loof (GER) 72

Official standings will be updated here:

Results, ERC3: Rally di Roma Capitale:

1. Mas Josep Bassas (ESP) 2:03:19.3

2. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi (FRA) +2.7

3. Alejandro Cachón (ESP) +2.8

4. Sami Pajari (FIN) +3:32.9

5. Lukasz Lewandowski (POL) +4:30.4

Unofficial standings, ERC3 3/6 osakilpailua:

1. Mas Josep Bassas (ESP) 93

2. Sami Pajari (FIN) 87

3. Jean-Baptiste Franceschi (FRA) 69

Official standings will be updated here:

Sami Pajari online:



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