Pajari increases lead as Armstrong seizes Wolf Stage win points

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Sami Pajari continues to lead the Junior WRC field on Rally de Portugal after a demanding day of tough stages.

The day started with Jon Armstrong taking the opening Wolf Stage Win Point of the day, repeating his performance on stage 11. Armstrong had the initial edge on all his Junior WRC competitors on the Amarante stage, until he stopped with a puncture losing two minutes.

The Northern Irishman had an identical run of results on the afternoon loop, claiming an additional pair of Wolf Stage Win Points before suffering a puncture again on the second pass of the Amarante stage.

Sitting a solitary fifth at the conclusion of Saturday was Irishman William Creighton who was able to conquer the mighty Amarante stage to take a Wolf Stage Win Point in the process.

Robert Virves experienced another eventful but unfruitful run of stages throughout Saturday on Rally de Portugal. The Estonian put on a good show of speed on more than one occasion, challenging for Wolf Stage Win Points but repeatedly fell short until the final super special blast on the streets of Porto, claiming a stage win and going 11th fastest overall.

Sami Pajari continues to lead the Junior WRC field on Rally de Portugal after a demanding day of tough stagesjpg

Lauri Joona was able to hold his hard fought second position throughout Saturday, despite running into trouble on the first pass of Amarante with a puncture. His fortunes changed in the afternoon loop when he was able to pick up a Wolf Stage Win point on the second pass of Amarante, arguably the toughest speed test of the rally.

The defending Junior WRC champion had a healthy lead over rival Joona and needed to post steady and consistent times avoiding any issues. Pajari’s job may have sounded simple at the start of Saturday, but it was difficult thanks to the pressure of leading. The Finn was able to accomplish this, ending the day with a five-minute lead over Joona, but no additional Wolf Stage Win Points to his name.

Maciej Woda, Junior WRC Championship Manager, said: “Today has been another challenge for our Junior WRC crews, we have had a healthy amount of competition with four different stage winners which highlights the level of competition. Sami Pajari has one focus right now which is to bring his drive home and win."

"Equally, his rivals also have one goal which is to try and score as many Wolf Stage Win points as possible which is what they are doing and doing well. I think we are going to see some interesting tactics deployed tomorrow with another five points up for grabs.”

Sami Pajari, FIA Junior WRC Rally Leader, said: “I was trying to have some rhythm on the stages and not to be too scared of making mistakes and getting a puncture or something."

"I was just trying to get comfortable with the car and with a better road position I was also pushing a bit and also having a little more fun and also enjoy the driving. We managed it quite well today.”