Reigning Junior World Rally champion Sami Pajari will move into the WRC2 class on next month’s Rally Italy in Sardinia.
Pajari had the choice of either a Rally3 or Rally2 Fiesta from M-Sport Poland for the 2022 season but elected to take the less powerful car and therefore contest another Junior WRC season as the series switched from front-wheel-drive Rally4 to the four-wheel-drive Rally3.
He is currently only fifth in this year’s standings after two rounds – hurt by a fuel pump issue in Sweden and a crash in Croatia – although he does lead WRC3.
But for Rally Italy, two weeks after the next JWRC round in Portugal, the 20-year-old Finn will step up to WRC2 in a Toksport Škoda Fabia Rally2 evo.
It will be Pajari’s second ever start in an R5 or Rally2 car after an appearance on Finland’s Riihimäki Ralli earlier this year in a Ford Fiesta R5, where he finished fourth.
“It’s a big rally in a powerful car, I’m really looking forward to my first Rally2 event at world championship level,” Pajari said.
“I don’t set performance goals for the competition, but of course I’d love to see the pace and experience increase during the competition and hopefully have some good times.”
Pajari is understood to be looking at further WRC2 outings later in the season but no plans are confirmed as of yet.
His JWRC program will take him to Estonia and the Acropolis Rally in Greece while he must enter five WRC3 rounds in order to be eligible for that series. Pajari has already done three as he contested and won the season-opening Monte Carlo Rally.