Pajari rolls over but not out in ERC
Sami Pajari continues to top the FIA ERC3 and ERC3 Junior order following Rally Liepāja – despite spending part of the event upside down.
The Flying Finn, who took a class double victory on ORLEN 77th Rally Poland last month, was leading the Pirelli-supported category in his M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally4 when he rolled close to the start of SS9, the 16.07-kilometre Liepāja test.
From leading by 5.0s, Pajari slipped to fifth and more than 3m30s off top spot following his delay. But with his car hastily repaired during Saturday’s midday service halt in Liepāja, Pajari was able to fight back up to third on the penultimate stage alongside co-driver Marko Salminen.
Third then became second when on-the-road-winner Mārtiņš Sesks was excluded from the results following post-event technical checks, leaving Pajari 11 points ahead of Rallye Team Spain’s Pep Bassas in ERC3 and 17 in front of Orsák Ralllysport’s Nick Loof in ERC3 Junior.
“The beginning was really good, especially from qualifying onwards through to Saturday it was really nice and we had good pace,” said Pajari. “Saturday started off well, we had the lead and we knew Martins was catching us, I had a good feeling and was happy with my pace and was happy to let Martins pass me with the pace he had as I didn’t want to risk a mistake.
“Then, I can’t quite explain it but I made a stupid mistake in a very slow corner and I rolled onto the roof but there were people who helped us get back onto the road. We recovered quite well after the accident and I really need to be happy about it as our pace was still really good. Rally Liepāja had good competition too so there are lots of positives to take away from here [and] we have good points.”