FIA World Rally Championship

Pajari’s debut in Rally1 has been postponed to Rally Finland

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Credit: Hannu Rainamo / Red Bull Content Pool

The 22-year-old Finn Sami Pajari was confirmed earlier that he will be taking the wheel of the fourth Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 machine for the Japanese team Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT in next month’s Rally Latvia and yesterday (Monday 24 June) the team announced their drivers line for the event.

The eight-time champion Sébastien Ogier will instead be given the driving duty for the fourth car, which means Pajari has to sit out in Latvia. Instead, he has been given the opportunity to take a seat at the following round of Rally Finland and his Rally1 debut will be on home soil.

Ogier will join the driver line-up of Elfyn Evans, Takamoto Katsuta, and the two-time champion Kalle Rovanperä. Team Principal Jari-Matti Latvala meant the decision was made so the team could have a better chance to fight for the manufacturer’s title where the Japanese marque is leading by just 13 points over Hyundai Shell Mobis WRT and give a more realistic debut for Pajari instead.

Credit: Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

“We are strongly committed to developing young drivers for the future, and also to maximising our results in the present, this is why we will still bring four cars to Latvia and now take the opportunity to have Sébastien there alongside Kalle, Elfyn and Takamoto. Seb has been very strong so far this year and, with the championship being so tight, we want to bring all the strength and experience we have to keep up the fight.” Latvala said.

“I think it always helps [Sami] to get into a new car on roads that you know well, and if we consider that his chance to test the car was always going to be on Finnish roads, this will now be strong preparation for Rally Finland. So, we believe this is another suitable opportunity for Sami to drive our Rally1 car, and it’s also going to be a great thing for his fans and the event itself. Still, as we said previously, we won’t be putting any pressure or expectation upon him in terms of result: we just want to see him adapt to the car and try to gain as much experience as possible,”

“It’s even nicer to have this chance in Finland and I’m extremely looking forward to the event. To drive this car on those stages will be something really cool and also really demanding. Of course, I will try to enjoy it too because it’s like a dream come true, but the main target is just to gain the experience. I’m really excited for it.” Pajari added.

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