Mon 08 May 2023

Challenger Pajari positive on progression

WRC2 Challenger frontrunner Sami Pajari is happy with the progress he’s making in his first complete season in a Rally2 car.

The 21-year-old Finn backed up a sensational WRC Challenger win in Sweden with second place last time out in Croatia, where he overcame a 2022 crash on the roads around Zagreb.

The WRC Challenger series is open to any WRC-registered driver who has not previously been nominated for WRC manufacturer points or has won the WRC2 title.

Talking about his maiden 2023 appearance on asphalt (after he was forced to withdraw from Rallye Monte-Carlo when he became ill), the 2021 FIA Junior World Rally Champion said: “Croatia was tricky with so much mud and gravel coming on the road – it was definitely a tough event, but I felt we were getting stronger as the event progressed and Sunday was our day. I’m happy with that, it’s a good way to look forwards to Portugal.”

Pajari’s outing this week will be his third start on the Matosinhos-based event – he was runner-up in Juniors first time out in 2022 before winning the category last season.

“It’s nice to go back to the gravel,” he said. “Portugal, I’ve only done in the Junior [WRC car], so it’ll be good to get there with the Škoda.”

As well as running second in WRC2 Challenger, Pajari is seventh in the overall WRC2 title race.

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