Sun 02 Jun 2024

Pajari basks in WRC2 glory at Rally Italia Sardegna

Finland’s Sami Pajari has claimed his first WRC2 win using Toyota machinery, managing a comfortable lead through Sunday’s final four stages at Rally Italia Sardegna.

The GR Yaris Rally2 hotshot returned to the top step of the WRC2 podium for the first time since last year’s Secto Rally Finland, catapulting himself from 11th to fourth in the overall championship standings.

Pajari began Sunday with a 54.7sec advantage over Yohan Rossel and was able to take a risk-free approach to the remaining stages. His lead was reduced to 32.3sec by Frenchman Rossel at the finish.

“I was hoping for a good result after the disappointment in Portugal,” said the euphoric 22-year-old at the completion of the rally-ending Wolf Power Stage. “I knew the pace was there and we just needed to put it together.”

Despite victory going to Pajari, it was Rossel - behind the wheel of his upgraded Citroën C3 Rally2 - turning the most heads during the weekend. After Saturday down in 15th overall, he rattled off eight consecutive stage wins to overtake Jan Solans and move into second overall midway through the penultimate day.

It spurred Solans to respond on Sunday morning as the Spaniard desperately fought back in his Yaris, winning three of the day’s four stages. But his efforts were in vain as Rossel held on by 7.0sec, extending his championship lead over Solans to 23 points.

Martin Prokop produced his best WRC2 result in recent memory, steering his Škoda Fabia RS Rally2 to fourth overall after edging Poland’s Kajetan Kajetanowicz by just 3.9sec. Ending the weekend in sixth on his first WRC2 appearance of the year was Robert Virves, also behind the wheel of a Škoda.

Pajari also celebrated glory in the WRC2 Challenger championship while Armin Kremer cruised to victory in WRC Masters Cup.

Latvia
Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Italy
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Hungary
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM