Saturday | 23 Oct 2021

Pajari: Junior title ‘a dream come true'

FIA Junior WRC champion Sami Pajari says taking the title at Rally RACC - Rally de España last week felt like a dream coming true.

Pajari made history by becoming the youngest and first Finnish driver to win the series after being crowned in Spain. 

He joined a long list of previous champions including Sébastien Ogier, Dani Sordo and Elfyn Evans - all of whom have gone on to forge careers within the sport’s top tier. 

Almost a week has passed, but Pajari remains on cloud nine. 

"It's like a dream coming true," he beamed. "I really don't have the words to describe the feeling."

"When there is so much work you have done and then all goes so well and you see it's really happening, it's just so, so amazing.”

Pajari started the final round with rivals Jon Armstrong and Martins Sesks both in contention for victory. 

Junior WRC highlights: Rally RACC - Rally de España

Whilst Sesks lacked the pace to challenge the frontrunners, Armstrong stormed in front on Friday to lead Pajari by 15.9sec overnight. It looked as if the Ulsterman had everything under control, but he went off the road the following day. 

After being gifted the rally lead, Pajari still had to fend off charges from Robert Virves and Lauri Joona. 

“Okay, Jon was kind of out,” he explained, “but we still needed to finish and score good points. It was actually even more challenging to find the right speed and not do anything stupid. 

“We were looking that it would be best if we got the [rally] win so then it's clear that we would take the championship. If we were second then it would have been really complicated that way."

“I sort of knew that I had a good chance, but when I finished I was just relieved that I made it through."

One of Pajari's prize options is an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2

In terms of his prize choices, Pajari is still mulling over the opportunities. 

Option one is the keys to a brand-new M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 with 200 Pirelli tyres, free registration for the 2022 WRC2 Championship and free entries for five 2022 WRC rounds. 

The alternative will be five fully funded drives in a four-wheel drive M-Sport Poland-built Fiesta Rally3 on five WRC rallies in 2022, including registration for WRC’s Rally3 category championship. 

"To be honest, I don't really know which one we are taking,” admitted the 19-year-old. “There are good options with both prizes, so we need to really think wisely about what we should do. I think, in one month at least, we should know something more."

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