Junior WRC: Pajari pounces as rivals falter

Sami Pajari kept his cool to lead the FIA Junior WRC category at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on Friday night after an attritional day among the young hotshots. The Finn claimed an early lead on the gravel roads of the second round, but Jon Armstrong quickly resumed the pace-setting form which carried him to victory in the opening fixture in Croatia last month. He built a 36sec lead with four consecutive fastest times before his hard work was undone with a puncture. Pajari regained the lead and ended the first day of three with a 25.7sec advantage. “It was a long challenging day and it was difficult to recognise your own pace and how well you are doing,” said Pajari. Slovakia’s Martin Koči, who suffered his own disappointment after losing the lead to Armstrong following a puncture in the opening round, was second.

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