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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

Enni Malkönen set for WRC debut after WRC2 victory at Rally Italy in Sardinia

Sami Pajari and Enni Mälkönen are set for their WRC debut later next month after their victory in WRC2 in Rally Italy Sardegna. Both young Finns have been impressive during their climb up the ranks of world rally and will now get to show their talent in a Rally1 car in Latvia.

Laura Villars, Ferrari Challenge Pirelli Trophy 2024, Balaton Park
Photo by Jaanus Ree / Red Bull Content Pool

Sami Pajari and Enni Mälkönen have announced their debut in a Rally1 car in next month's Rally Latvia with a Toyota GR Yaris Rally1 Hybrid. The duo previously won Rally Italy Sardegna in WRC2 and are the latest team given the chance to step up to the highest class of world rally for one event.

The team will debut in a Rally1 car next month for Rally Latvia in collaboration with the WRC Promoter and Toyota Gazoo Racing. Pajari was chosen due to his successful career in the sport so far, including the FIA Junior WRC title in 2021 and several podiums and two wins in WRC2.

Enni Mälkönen, previous WRC3 co-driver champion and the first-ever female to win a WRC championship to this date, will co-drive for Pajari and is the first female to do so since Isabelle Galmiche read pace notes for Sébastien Loeb at the EKO Acropolis Rally Greece in 2022.

"In moments like these, I realize they are not only significant to me but to all the young girls and boys who have dreams", Enni Mälkönen said. "I hope these moments create hope and belief and show everyone that even big dreams can come true. Believe in yourselves, be courageous, and do not let anyone discourage you."

Tet Rally Latvia will be a new rally for everyone in the WRC calendar and features a high-speed gravel event in July (18th to 21st) based in Liepāja.

The news was announced after the young Finnish duo won Rally Italia Sardegna last weekend. Pajari and Mälkönen worked through the stages, building a comfortable lead ahead of the last day of the rally on Sunday, eventually building a gap of 54.7 seconds ahead of Yohan Rossel.

Sunday was all about managing the lead, and the duo did it perfectly, nursing the car and tires home to take their second WRC2 victory after Secto Rally Finland in 2023. It’s Pajari and Mälkönen's first win in Toyota machinery, jumping from 11th to fifth in the overall championship standings.

"Back to the podium feelings one more time", Enni Mälkönen stated. "It’s the best feeling when I hear the Finnish national anthem on the podium."

The next rally will take place from 27th to 30th June in Poland for the WRC Orlen 80th Rally Poland.

Photo by Hannu Rainamo / Red Bull Content Pool



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