Toyota dismisses Pajari speculation

WRC2 frontunner has been testing new GR Yaris Rally2 in France but manufacturer insists car is for customers


Toyota Gazoo Racing has moved to dismiss speculation that Sami Pajari has an agreement for next season’s World Rally Championship.

The Finn’s return to the Toyota GR Yaris Rally2 test car in France on Tuesday prompted further discussion of a permanent role for the 22-year-old.

When pressed by DirtFish on Pajari’s position, Toyota’s Tom Fowler said: “Toyota’s position on the Rally2 project has been transparent from the very beginning: GR Yaris Rally2 is a customer car. It’s not a factory car.

“Across the last 18 months, we’ve had a very wide spectrum of drivers coming testing with us – this is something we wanted to do. We’ve had Kalle Rovanperä testing the car, but we’ve also had really good national drivers like Norihiko Katsuta giving us feedback for the car he would to drive.

“On Monday, we had Stéphane Lefebvre driving and today [Tuesday] it’s Sami Pajari.

Pajari 2

“These drivers can make agreements with some of the teams who have expressed an interest to buy and run GR Yaris Rally2, once it’s homologated.”

Toyota has consistently outlined its intention to run a Škoda Motorsport-style model of the factory building its rally cars before sending them to satellite teams like Toksport to run them.

It’s well known Škoda has provided budget for Toksport to run Fabias, but the Czech firm has made it clear that all customers get the same car and the same parts.

DirtFish understands Toyota could have a satellite operation similar to Toksport, where it could keep an eye on drivers such as Pajari, but the focus of the project is to sell cars to drivers and teams around the world.

Toyota’s test continues this week and concludes with Pajari running zero car on the Rallye du Dévoluy.