Pajari had to avoid civilian car on Rally Japan SS4

The stage, which had already claimed Craig Breen, was canceled immediately after the incident


WRC2 driver Sami Pajari has revealed the reason the fourth stage of Rally Japan was canceled was because he came across a civilian car heading towards him on the stage.

The opening tests of Rally Japan were full of drama, with Dani Sordo’s Hyundai i20 N Rally1 car catching fire on SS2, before Craig Breen subsequently crashed into a barrier when running got back underway on the fourth stage.

Shortly after Breen’s crash the stage was then red-flagged, but it later transpired that it had nothing to do with the M-Sport driver’s incident.

That red flag was in fact due to a member of the public driving their car along the stage, in the opposite direction to that of the competitors.

All of the Rally1 crews bar Breen made it through to the end of the stage without issue, but it was Pajari who found himself with the car heading in his direction.

“To be honest, I don’t know how polite I should be because I don’t know how much it belongs to the media really,” Pajari told DirtFish.

“I think it should belong to the FIA.”

There was no collision between Pajari and the civilian’s car, and nobody was harmed.

Pajari wouldn’t be drawn on his exact method of evasive action, although footage at the time showed he and Emil Lindholm had stopped in the middle of the road on the latter part of the stage.

“Well you can imagine how it can be if you are doing full rally speed and suddenly over some crest you see a normal car,” he said.

“So how would normal people react to it? You can make your own conclusions.”

DirtFish has contacted the FIA and Rally Japan’s organizer for a response.

Words:David Evans