Finnish rally hope seeks help from Kalle Rovanperä

Sami Pajari is gearing up for the biggest rally of his career in just over a month.
Sami Pajari
Sami Pajari. Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
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Toyota’s WRC team is showing great trust in Pajari by giving the Finnish hopeful a chance to showcase his skills in the main category of the World Rally Championship. Pajari will take on the Rally Latvia in a Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car, scheduled for mid-July.

Pajari, 22, has been competing in the WRC2 category in recent seasons. Last year, he claimed his first class victory in the Rally Finland, and his second win came last weekend in the Rally Sardinia.

For his Rally1 debut, Pajari is set to undergo thorough preparations.

“We should get good testing done, so I have a good feeling about that. I will definitely be able to ask for tips from other drivers,” Pajari says.

In 2021, Pajari competed in the ERC Rally Latvia, which takes place in the same region as this summer’s WRC rally.

“Preparation for the route is quite normal. At some point, organizers will provide videos from which you can study and look at notes you might have left. But above all, we aim to have a good feeling going into the competition and try to approach it with a relaxed mindset to avoid being too tense,” Pajari explains.

Additionally, Pajari needs to find common ground with the members of Toyota’s factory team. It helps that there are many familiar Finnish faces within the team.

“There are many familiar faces in the team, starting with the mechanics. That makes things a bit easier. But it is a completely different team than what we had on the Rally2 side, even though the brand has been the same. There are always unique aspects when there are a lot of new people around,” Pajari notes.

Pajari hopes to receive support from the team’s other Finnish driver, two-time world champion Kalle Rovanperä. The Finnish star has been taking a short break from the WRC but, according to, Rovanperä will be participating in the Rally Latvia.

“I am somewhat familiar with the drivers. I’ve joked around with Kalle and ‘Taka’ (Takamoto Katsuta). I can definitely ask for a lot of tips, which is very valuable and helps a lot,” Pajari says.

The Rally Latvia is scheduled for July 18-21.

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