News | 24/01/2022
Pajari wins in WRC3 at his first ever Rallye Monte-Carlo
Sami Pajari and Enni Mälkönen started their season on the winning note at the legendary Rallye Monte-Carlo. In addition to being the first “Monte” of Pajari’s still young carreer, the event also marked the first international outing for the Finn in a 4WD rally car.
The FIA World Rally Championship season of 2022 kicked-off on Thursday night from Monaco, where the rally had returned it’s headquarters after a few years of being absent, and four days later significant Finnish rallying history was made once again. Pajari’s win was also the first ever WRC3 victory driven with the all new Rally3 class car after the series switched to these last year introduced 4WD vehicles for this season. Pajari also helmed the M-Sport Poland prepared and serviced Ford Fiesta Rally3 only for his second time after driving it last autumn in a Finnish Rally Championship event.
The first two special stages were competed in the cover of darkness at the region of the elusive Col de Turini. Pajari and Mälkönen took the stages safely and learning the secrets of the new car and the event. Jan Černý from Czech Republic took the lead early on and was 21,2 seconds ahead of the Finns come the first overnight break. On Friday’s daylight stages Pajari and Mälkönen took a more aggressive approach and claimed four of the six available stage wins, but returned to Monaco with a total of 26,7 seconds behind the still leading Černý. Saturday was to be the day of the maximum attack and the Finns were the fastest WRC3 crew on three of the four stages in the day’s itinerary. In the process Černý was passed and Pajari and Mälkönen became the WRC3 class leaders with a gap of 14,7 seconds before the final day of the event.
Sunday had in store four more stages, with the Wolf Power Stage climaxing the rally. Pajari and Mälkönen continued with a great pace and extended their gap already to 35 seconds before the final special stage. There the pair took the sensible approach and with an engineer’s professional instinct Mälkönen guided them to victory with a safe 7,6 seconds of a gap to Černý in the overall WRC3 standings at the final time control.
“We came here to learn and gather experience of both the car and the event. That we did and met all the expectations we had set ourselves. Thursday was all about taking it safe and from Friday morning we started to raise the pace. Ok, there were a few issues here and there that made the gap grow, but the overall feeling was much better. Everything worked perfectly on Saturday and we were able to make some very good times in the good conditions, while still taking the more challenging sections more carefully. On the final day we were able to gain more advantage with just a good base pace and survived the difficult final stage with no issues.” Pajari sums up the event.
Classifications - Rallye Monte-Carlo, Monaco
1. Sami Pajari - Enni Mälkönen (FIN)
2. Jan Černý (CZE) +7.6
3. Enrico Brazzoli (ITA) +19:16.0
Sami Pajari online: