Sami Pajari and Jon Armstrong, delivered a stunning ERC3 one-two in M-Sport Poland Fiesta Rally4 cars on Rally Hungary, the penultimate round of the 2021 European Rally Championship.
In total the Fiesta Rally4 accounted for eleven out of fourteen stage wins in the ERC3 category on Rally Hungary as Pajari stormed to victory with Armstrong second. Pajari took the maximum points available on Rally Hungary; he now leads the 2021 FIA ERC3 Junior Championship and is in prime position to become the first driver in history to get both Junior WRC and ERC3 Junior titles in the same year.
Pajari started his latest ERC rally with a stage win on the opening super special stage at the Rabócsiring circuit with another fastest stage win on the first full special stage of the rally on Saturday morning. Armstrong’s rally got off to a more eventful start losing time on the first two stages but by SS3 he was back up to speed, taking his first stage win of the event followed by another fastest time on SS4. At the end of the first loop Armstrong began climbing up the classification, finding himself fourth while Pajari was closing in on the lead in second. The second loop saw Pajari move into the lead closely followed by Armstrong with the latter notching up another two stage wins as the pair edged out the ERC3 field.
The second full day of action in Hungary saw Pajari and Armstrong continue to trade fastest times with each other across some of the most technical Tarmac in Europe thanks to Rally Hungary’s unique and difficult roads. The EcoBoost-powered Fiesta Rally4 dominated in the difficult conditions that presented this year’s ERC3 crews. Both Armstrong and Pajari showed their strength and maturity working with the M-Sport Poland team to take a mammoth 11 stage wins from the 14 stages run. Such was Pajari’s impressive speed that the closest finishing non-M-Sport Rally4 car was over one minute behind in the classification.
Maciej Woda, M-Sport Poland Team Director, said: “This was an absolutely jaw-dropping display of talent and speed by these two drivers this weekend. Sami and Jon have been doing battle in Junior WRC all year and it somehow has managed to spill over into ERC3 Junior. It was their first time on this event which is a very tricky rally where experience pays off due to how unique the conditions are and they were against some pretty skilled and experienced competition. I thought we would be competitive here and fighting for the victory but I didn’t expect this kind of dominance and I think it underlines just how much you can get out of the Fiesta Rally4. Hats off to Sami, Marko, Jon and Phil as well as the M-Sport Poland team, amazing working by all and massive congratulations!”