Sunday | 18 Jul 2021

Pajari bags maiden junior win

Sami Pajari scored his maiden FIA Junior WRC victory at Rally Estonia on Sunday afternoon after leading the four-day fixture from start to finish.

The Flying Finn was fastest out of the blocks in Thursday night’s curtain-raising speed test in Tartu and never looked back. He reeled off six more consecutive stage wins on Friday to leave his rivals playing catch-up.

That was something they couldn’t do, and the Ford Fiesta Rally4 pilot celebrated a 24.1sec victory after having the luxury of measuring his pace through Sunday’s final leg while his rivals scrapped furiously for the remaining podium places.

His efforts moved him into a four-point lead at the top of the championship with two of the five rounds remaining.

“There’s not many words that I can find at this moment, I’m just super grateful and happy to win here,” said a jubilant Pajari. “The last stage was in a bad condition and I was worried that we were going to get stuck so I’m just relieved to reach the finish.”

Koči stopped in the final stage

Martin Koči, Jon Armstrong and Martins Sesks were blanketed by just 6.0sec as they headed into Sunday’s final six tests.

Armstrong grabbed second in the opening stage and when Sesks dropped 40sec with a power steering problem, the Northern Irishman was secure.

Sesks plunged to fourth with just two stages remaining in which to regain almost 20 sec from Koči and salvage a podium. It looked a forlorn task until Koči stopped with a suspected broken driveshaft in the final stage and retired.  

Sesks was demoted to second in the championship standings, with Armstrong a further nine points back in third.

Lauri Joona finished fourth with Romania’s Raul Badiu another minute back in fifth. Will Creighton and Robert Virves completed the finishers.

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