Sami Pajari, who will be driving Toyota’s Rally1 car, says it straight – “There won’t be any quick wins from this”

Sami Pajari faces the most important competition of his rally career in July.
Sami Pajari.
Sami Pajari. Photo by: Rallypixels
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Toyota’s WRC team confirmed on Thursday that Pajari will compete with the team’s fourth Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car in the Rally Latvia. Pajari has delivered strong performances in the WRC2 category, and now he gets his first opportunity in the top category of the World Rally Championship.

There are a couple of reasons why Latvia was chosen as Pajari’s first rally with the Rally1 hybrid car.

“Latvia is a high-speed rally. It may not be an easy rally, but a fast gravel race should suit me to some extent. It’s a familiar environment. I drove this rally there once three years ago (in the ERC), and surely some of the stages are familiar.”

“But the clearest point was that it is not particularly familiar to anyone. It is a new event in the WRC and everyone will have to make new pace notes for it. We are more or less on the same starting line, so it’s easier to get started,” Pajari explains.

Before the rally, Pajari will have the chance to thoroughly familiarise himself with his new tool during tests. There is a significant difference between the powerful Rally1 car and the smaller class Rally2 car.

“There are certainly many new things to consider and learn. Just getting the car started and knowing how to use the hybrid system in some way, there are its own things,” Pajari says.

Pajari has competed this year in the WRC2 category for Rally2 cars, where the competition is extremely tough. For instance, last weekend’s Rally Sardinia featured no fewer than 41 Rally2 crews.

There are significantly fewer Rally1 cars in WRC rallies, generally less than ten per event. But at the absolute top level of the sport, even tenths of a second are harder to come by. For Pajari, the main thing in Latvia is to gain experience, but at the same time, he can compare his pace with the front runners.

“The competition is certainly no easier than it has been in the Rally2 category. There too, you get used to the fact that the competition is tough and you really have to push if you want to succeed. I don’t have any illusions that this will be easy. We’ll just try to take it step by step,” Pajari emphasises.

“It’s really hard to set any clear result targets. We’ll just try to do our best and enjoy it as much as possible. The competition will certainly be incredibly tough – there won’t be any quick wins from this,” the Finnish driver says plainly.

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