It seems astonishing to think that Fabien Pailler did not win a round of the FIA European Rallycross Championship in 2021, such was his pace throughout the campaign – but the fact that the Frenchman went toe-to-toe for the title with a driver of the calibre of Andreas Bakkerud speaks volumes about his performance this year.
Pailler was on the money from the outset behind the wheel of his Peugeot 208, and was dominating the second semi-final in the Höljes curtain-raiser when the wheel quite literally came off his challenge. He was then on-course to finish second on home soil at Lohéac before retiring due to a battery problem, but he bounced back with the runner-up spoils to Jānis Baumanis in Riga.
Despite enduring a troubled run through the qualifying stages at Spa-Francorchamps, the Pailler Compétition ace still entered the last race of the campaign just one point adrift of Bakkerud, going on to give chase right the way to the chequered flag. Although he ultimately had to concede, there was no shame at all in placing second to the Norwegian at the end of comfortably his finest season in the championship to-date.