Young Finnish drivers were the main talking point in the quarter-finals of the Neste Rally Finland eChallenge on Thursday evening.
The event, which was streamed to a global audience in the tens of thousands from WRC’s Facebook and YouTube channels, witnessed FIA Junior WRC drivers Sami Pajari and Lauri Joona advance to the semi-finals, where they are joined by their 18-year-old fellow countryman Sami-Matti Trogen. Halting the Finnish clean sweep in the final four is Estonian WRC 3 driver Roland Poom.
Going up against the FIA Junior WRC eSports Shootout champion Raul Badiu of Romania, Trogen set a blistering speed in the opening of the night’s quarter-finals, finishing the Horkka test in a time of 3min 12.686sec – more than 13 seconds clear of Badiu.
Entering the world of rallying from single seaters was former F1 driver Mika Salo. Despite putting on the board a competitive 3min 28.676sec, Poom was able to gatecrash the Finnish party, stopping the clock at 3min 22.756sec.
On the other side of the draw, Junior driver Joona showed no nerves coming up against M-Sport Ford’s Esapekka Lappi, producing the second-quickest run of the night, to set up a date with his fellow Junior driver, Sami Pajari, in Friday’s second semi-final. Pajari advanced to the next round via a relatively comfortable win over eSports WRC Shootout runner-up, Marco Bulacia, whose chances took a major blow with an error that sent him into the trees late on the stage.
The semi-finals begin at 20:00 CET on Friday evening and will once more be streamed live on WRC Facebook and YouTube channels. บ้านผลบอล