Junior WRC champ Pajari chasing Rally2 car for Finland

The reigning Junior WRC champion finally graduated to the Rally2 class in Italy, and now he wants more of it


After sampling a Rally2 car for the first time in the World Rally Championship, reigning Junior WRC champion Sami Pajari is looking for more outings later in the season, ideally on his native Rally Finland.

Pajari had the choice between a Ford Fiesta Rally2 or Rally3 for this season as a prize for his junior world title in 2021, but elected to take the less powerful version and learn his craft in four-wheel-drive.

That means he unusually is defending his JWRC crown this year – a championship drivers usually use as a stepping stone to progress further up the ranks.

But the JWRC calendar consists of five rounds, so Pajari is free to explore other opportunities.



There was sound reasoning behind staying put for 2022 with a Junior focus

Last week’s Rally Italy was one such occasion, where he secured a deal to drive a Toksport Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo on Sardinia. And Pajari finished an extremely credible 12th overall – fifth in WRC2 and fourth in WRC2 Junior, peaking with a second-fastest stage time in WRC2 on Saturday afternoon.

“It was quite exciting,” Pajari told DirtFish.

“So OK [there were] many new things to learn. But I mean, it was let’s say like a dream come true for me also. So I was really enjoying and trying to also have the competitive side in my mind and do as well as I can.

“I think it went quite well. So I really need to be satisfied.”


Satisfied, but not wholly content. The step up to WRC2 has left the 21-year-old with an itch to scratch.

“The next one we will do is Estonia with the Junior WRC. But after that…” he teased.

“I hope we have a few rallies in Europe, which are not in a Junior calendar,” Pajari added. “So I highly hope that for example, like Finland, or something like this, I hope, but let’s see.

“That would be really great. But I know it’s not so simple to put the package together. OK, I’m not sure when the entry is closing. So I think quite soon we will know.”


Despite Pajari’s desire and enthusiasm to get back behind the wheel of a Rally2 car, he insists that getting the results in the Rally3 machine is still the ultimate aim for the season. Of course, if he wins the title he will get himself a free Rally2 car for 2023.

“Yeah, that’s still that’s the main focus, for sure,” Pajari affirmed when asked if the emphasis of his season remained on WRC3 Junior.

“But of course, when you’re doing Rally2 rallies, then you want to do those as well as you ever can and learn because if you are looking at it like the career into the future, at one point that Rally2 is the thing you need to do.

“So I really want to learn it as well as I can and be more ready in the future.”