The reigning Junior World Rally Champion Sami Pajari and his co-driver Enni Mälkönen will take part in the WRC round of Sardinia on the first week in June driving a Toksport WRT serviced Skoda Fabia Rally2 EVO.
The German team has been the trusted partner for success for the likes of Andreas Mikkelsen, with his last season’s championship victories in both WRC and ERC claimed with Toksport WRT provided rally machinery, and Emil Lindholm in his WRC quest this season.
The twisty roads of Sardinia will be the first international outing for Pajari in the more powerful Rally2 class all-wheel-drive beast. Pajari and Mälkönen did have a go in a Finnish Championship event during the winter in the little older Ford Fiesta R5, where they remarkably finished fourth in Pajari’s first ever R5/Rally2 event. The heat of Sardegnian asphalt in turn is already familiar to Pajari from the JWRC event the year before.
“It will certainly be even hotter there now in June, as last time the event took place in October. And it sure wasn’t cold back then… A great event, a powerful car, I’m really eager to get the taste of them in my first ever Rally2 outing in WRC. I have not placed a spesific target for the result, the main thing is to see my pace getting better and gain more experience throughout the event. However, we do try to set a few good stage times at some point. We get the first access to the car on Monday of the rally week when we head out to do some proper testing,” Pajari excitedly reveals.
Two weeks before Rally Sardegna Pajari will drive the more familiar Ford Fiesta Rally3 in the JWRC event of Rally Portugal. Ford being Pajari’s primary tool of the season, it will continue to be the platform for both the JWCR and the WRC3 championship hunts.
“It’s nice to have a couple of south European events back-to-back to get a good feel for gravel again, even if the surface is a lot different there than for example in Finland or Estonia. We are planning for some more Rally2 events later in the season, but those plans are not quite set in stone yet,” Pajari sheds light to future plans.
Sami Pajari online:
Pajari portrait: Hannu Rainamo