Sami Pajari’s big dream comes true – “It feels almost supernatural”

Sami Pajari is set to be the next Finnish driver to test his skills in the top tier of the World Rally Championship.
Sami Pajari and Enni Mälkönen
Sami Pajari and Enni Mälkönen won the WRC2 class competition in Sardinia at the beginning of June. Photo: Toyota Gazoo Racing WRT
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Toyota’s WRC team confirmed earlier on Thursday that the 22-year-old Pajari will compete in the team’s Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car at the Rally Latvia, which will take place from July 18-21.

Pajari’s rally career has been carefully planned. In the 2021 season, he won the JWRC championship and secured his first WRC2 class victory last season.

This season, his equipment changed to Toyota’s new Rally2 car. Now, the Finnish hopeful is making the leap to a Rally1 car for one WRC rally.

“This is a dream come true and something we have worked towards for many years. It feels almost supernatural that it’s happening now,” Pajari describes.

“I am really grateful and excited about this. The feeling is overall fantastic.”

Earlier this year, Pajari shared with how he and his team planned the steps for the coming years and his path to the top of the rally world about five years ago. Their work has paid off.

“The steps have progressed very well in recent years, and we have been able to achieve good results. The direction signs have been quite spot-on. I might not have believed that this (participating in a WRC rally with a Rally1 car) could come up so quickly, but I can only be very satisfied,” Pajari smiles.

It is certain that Pajari will have competitive equipment from Toyota. Toyota has dominated the manufacturers’ and drivers’ WRC series in recent years. Additionally, the team’s Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 car should be well-suited to the fast gravel roads of Latvia.

“It’s really great to be part of that team. There have been many Finnish drivers and familiar Finnish faces. It’s wonderful to become one of them,” Pajari says.

In addition to Pajari, another first-timer in a Rally1-class hybrid car will be seen at the Rally Latvia, as Latvian hopeful Martins Sesks starts his home race with M-Sport’s Ford Puma Rally1 car. Sesks, however, will be driving the Ford Puma already in the Rally Poland preceding Latvia, but his car there will not have a hybrid unit.

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