Sami Pajari and co-driver Enni Mälkönen’s season in the WRC2 category of the World Rally Championship continues with the round in Estonia, which kicks off on Thursday evening. The duo, competing with the Toksport WRT rally team’s Skoda Fabia RS Rally Evo, is determined to secure their second podium finish of the season.
Participating in the Estonian WRC event for the fourth time, Pajari has previously achieved two victories and one second-place finish in the Junior WRC category during his visits to the southern neighboring country from his homeland Finland. This season, Pajari’s sole podium came at his opening event on the snowy roads of Sweden, while his asphalt outing in Croatia secured a respectable fifth-place finish. However, the rough gravel rallies in Portugal and Sardinia ended in retirements for the talented Finn.
In comparison to the challenging endurance events in Portugal and Sardinia, Rally Estonia demands speed and agility. Pajari acknowledges that this particular event is among his favorites.
“For starters, this rally doesn’t require avoiding as many rocks; you can truly push hard, which I find pretty cool. Of course, we will give our best efforts, and it would be fantastic to reach the podium as we have in recent years,” Pajari commented optimistically.
One of the biggest topics of speculation for the weekend is, undoubtedly, the weather. Current forecasts predict light rain showers on each day of the event.
“Possibly, the lightest rain showers won’t have a significant impact. However, if the rain intensifies, the roads can turn muddy very quickly as there are fewer ditches to drain the water compared to Finland. Last year, we encountered heavy rainfall during the final stage, which changed the situation drastically and made it quite challenging. Hopefully, this time, we’ll have drier conditions throughout the race,” Pajari added.
The route for this year’s Rally Estonia follows a familiar pattern from previous editions. The rally commences on Thursday evening with a 3.5-kilometer spectator special stage in Tartu at 8:00 PM local time. On Friday, the competitors will tackle seven special stages, covering a total of 133 kilometers. Saturday in turn will feature one additional special stage, with just over 100 kilometers to cover.
The final day, Sunday, will see four special stages remaining, including the rally’s sole brand-new stage, Karaski, which will be run twice. The well-known Kambja Power Stage from previous years will conclude the rally, starting at 1:15 PM Estonian time.