It was a baptism of fire for 17-year-old Finn Sami Pajari, who took part in his very first Neste Rally Finland earlier this month after being elected AKK Flying Finn Future Star.
For professional rally or racing drivers, safety is the absolute basic foundation of their working environment, where risk anticipation and risk prevention play a key role.
The first full day of Rally Finland is over, with the crews having completed 126.55 competitive kilometres today and a total of 11 stages up until now (including Thursday night’s opening stage).
The Flying Finn community of the Finnish ASN AKK-Motorsport is doing important work for the future of Finnish motorsport. Through the Flying Finn driver path, talented young drivers that are on their way towards the world elite also get a chance to put their skills to the test in Neste Rally Finland.
With the first cool and cloudy morning of Rally Finland complete, it’s a Toyota one-two-three so far on the team’s home event – as many people expected before the rally started.
Special Stage 6, Äänekoski 1
Rally Lounge proudly presents: KymiRing - the multi-purpose arena that benefits all Finnish motorsport
The KymiRing circuit is just about ready for the MotoGP tests taking place there on 19 - 20 August. The KTM test rider and experienced Finnish motorcycle road racing professional Mika Kallio, who has come to Jyväskylä to watch the rally, visited also the Neste Rally Finland service park to chat about his future plans etc.
A total of 65 competitors started Rally Finland tonight, but few of them were looking forward to it as much as Sami Pajari: the 17-year-old who was elected AKK Flying Finn Future Star of 2019, following in a long tradition of young Finnish drivers who have been given a head start by the Finnish federation on their home rally.
Rally Finland finally got underway this evening with the short 2.31-kilometre Harju stage, close to the Paviljonki service park. The opening stage was run entirely on asphalt, with the drivers nonetheless using gravel tyres, which ensured plenty of spectacular slides. On such a short circuit, there was little to choose between the top crews.
Last year’s Rally Finland winner Ott Tänak headed the times for Toyota on the shakedown this morning, held in cool and cloudy conditions. This year’s 4.26-kilometre shakedown stage, Vesala, featured fast roads that are typical of the 23 stages that start tonight, with Harju at 19:00.
Sami Pajari, who was chosen by the Finnish motorsport federation (AKK) as the country’s Future Star this year, is ready to take on the challenge of Rally Finland, having successfully completed the recce today.