The final battle of this year’s Junior World Championship is approaching. The fifth and penultimate event, Rallye de France-Alsace, starts on Thursday and there is a lot at stake. Pontus Tidemand has currently control over the lead and there is a chance that the championship could be settled this weekend.
After finishing on the podium in all the season’s Junior WRC events so far, Pontus has a 42 points lead over Spanish José Suarez, who has the second place. In order to secure the title this weekend in France, Pontus has to scoop twelve points more than Suarez and two points more than his second strongest rival Yeray Lemes, also from Spain. In theory, Sander Pärn (Estonia), Michael Burri (Switzerland) and Martin Koci (Slovakia) can stop Pontus too, but then they have to beat him with two, 11 and 19 points.
“It would be fantastic to win the title with one event to go, but I know that I have incredibly tough competitors who will do everything they can to stop me”, says Pontus. “I can’t drive too safely in this situation but neither can I take too big risks. We have to stay focused on the task and do our best.”
With the support from EVEN Management and Tätab, Pontus has been able to get practise in between the JWRC events. During the past weekend, he and co-driver Ola Fløene participated in East Belgian Rally as a preparation for Rallye de France. They set good stage times and had a real fight with WRC runner-up Thierry Neuville. After the first seven stages, Pontus had the upper hand with a nearly 8 seconds lead over Neuville and was the fastest Ford Fiesta R2. Unfortunately the rally ended premature when the engine broke down with only five stages left.
“Lately we’ve been trying to get as much driving as possible on tarmac ahead of these final events”, says Pontus. “In addition to Rally Deutschland, we have participated in three tarmac rallies this season and of course more experience increases the chances, but as mentioned, the competition is hard and most crews come to France well prepared and ready for a fight.”
Rallye de France-Alsace is the JWRC season’s second tarmac rally and it contains everything from winding roads through vineyards to forest roads and steep climbs in the Vosges Mountains. Narrow and technical sections as well as fast stages combined with falling temperatures create the challenge that characterizes the French WRC event.
The rally starts on Thursday with an extended spectator stage of 4,55 km in the hosting city Strasbourg. On Friday awaits six stages and on Saturday another seven before the JWRC crews reach the finish on Saturday evening. Overall they will master 255,56 km special stages.
Live results can be found here.
Rallye de France-Alsace 2013
Thursday 3 October
Friday 4 October
|SS2||Klevener 1||10,66 km||09:18|
|SS3||Massif des Grands Crus – Ungersberg 1||13,04 km||09:50|
|SS4||Vosges – Pays d’Ormont 1||34,34 km||10:50|
|SS5||Klevener 2||10,66 km||14:53|
|SS6||Massif des Grands Crus – Ungersberg 2||13,04 km||15:25|
|SS7||Vosges – Pays d’Ormont 2||34,34 km||16:25|
Saturday 5 October
|SS8||Hohlandsbourg – Firstplan 1||28,48 km||09:23|
|SS9||Vallée de Munster 1||16,73 km||10:06|
|SS10||Soultzeren – Pays Welche 1||19,93 km||10:54|
|SS11||Hohlandsbourg – Firstplan 2||28,48 km||13:55|
|SS12||Vallée de Munster 2||16,73 km||14:28|
|SS13||Soultzeren – Pays Welche 2||19,93 km||15:26|
Photo: André Lavadinho