Thursday | 30 Jul 2020

Young Finns dominate Quarter-Finals

Young Finnish drivers were the main talking point in the quarter-finals of the Neste Rally Finland eChallenge on Thursday evening.

The event, which was streamed to a global audience in the tens of thousands from WRC’s Facebook and YouTube channels, witnessed FIA Junior WRC drivers Sami Pajari and Lauri Joona advance to the semi-finals, where they are joined by their 18-year-old fellow countryman Sami-Matti Trogen. Halting the Finnish clean sweep in the final four is Estonian WRC 3 driver Roland Poom.

Going up against the FIA Junior WRC eSports Shootout champion Raul Badiu of Romania, Trogen set a blistering speed in the opening of the night’s quarter-finals, finishing the Horkka test in a time of 3min 12.686sec – more than 13 seconds clear of Badiu.

Entering the world of rallying from single seaters was former F1 driver Mika Salo. Despite putting on the board a competitive 3min 28.676sec, Poom was able to gatecrash the Finnish party, stopping the clock at 3min 22.756sec.

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On the other side of the draw, Junior driver Joona showed no nerves coming up against M-Sport Ford’s Esapekka Lappi, producing the second-quickest run of the night, to set up a date with his fellow Junior driver, Sami Pajari, in Friday’s second semi-final. Pajari advanced to the next round via a relatively comfortable win over eSports WRC Shootout runner-up, Marco Bulacia, whose chances took a major blow with an error that sent him into the trees late on the stage.

The semi-finals begin at 20:00 CET on Friday evening and will once more be streamed live on WRC Facebook and YouTube channels.

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