The German World Rally Championship event wasn’t easy for most participants. But 22 year old Pontus Tidemand had a rally without problems and took a big step forward when he showed tactical driving as well as improved technique on the surface. That gave him his first Junior WRC win on tarmac with a victory margin of nearly two minutes.
Pontus and co-driver Ola Fløene started Rally Deutschland with composed and safe driving in their Ford Fiesta R2 on Thursday. When the first two stages were driven, they were in second place overnight and Pontus was happy about not having more than 10,7 seconds to leading José Suarez, who has a lot of experience from tarmac rallies.
On Friday, Pontus quickly found a good pace and on the second stage of the day, he took the lead and it increased significantly during the day as more competitors got into trouble. Suarez, who is the main competition in the overall championship standings, went off the road and Yeray Lemes, who was in second place behind Pontus, got gearbox problems. When the sixth and last stage of the day was finished, Pontus had scored three stage wins and his lead had extended to as much as two and a half minutes.
“When we started on Thursday, I didn’t have the right confidence”, says Pontus. “But both the car and the feeling were good and got even better when I noticed that we could keep up with the top guys. We got through Friday more or less flawlessly, which gave us an advantage when many of the others got problems.”
Saturday was with it’s six stages the last competitive day for the JWRC crews. The weather conditions were somewhat rapidly changing and with them came bigger difficulties. But for Pontus, the main task was to take care of the lead and reach the finish line of the last stage. That meant that he didn’t have to take huge risks, but instead he got other things to deal with.
“Personally I prefer to have a proper fight, so the biggest challenge was to keep the concentration when we had such a big lead. Competition wise it was to my advantage, but I feel sorry for Suarez and Lemes and I think it’s too bad that we didn’t get to battle it out.”
After a fatal accident in the non-competitive historic demonstration class, the organisers decided to cancel stage 14 as a mark of respect and the juniors got to end their rally one stage earlier than planned. Pontus took the victory with one minute and 47 seconds to runner-up Michel Burri, while Yeray Lemes came in third.
“I’ve built experience on tarmac over the past year and it’s great to finally get a win. Even though we haven’t driven at top speed, we’re taking a problem free tarmac rally with us and that is promising for the next event in France” says Pontus, who has EVEN Management and Tätab to thank for his participation in the Junior WRC.
Next rally in the Junior World Rally Championship calendar is Rallye de France-Alsace in the beginning of October, but already in two weeks, Pontus and Ola will take part in the Swedish Championship event East Sweden Rally.
Resultats FIA Junior WRC ADAC Rallye Deutschland 2013
1. P. Tidemand (SWE) / O. Floene (NOR) 3:09:26.8
2. M. Burri (SUI) / G. Moreau (FRA) +1:47.5
3. Y. Lemes (ESP) / R. Penate (ESP) +2:11.2
4. M. Koči (SVK) / P. Stary (CZE) +2:57.5
5. J. Suárez (ESP) / C. Carrera (ESP) +4:31.6
6. S. Pärn (EST) / K. Järveoja (EST) +7:05.1
7. M .Bostanci (TUR) / O. Vatansever (TUR) +11:58.9
8. N-P. Nieminen (FIN) / M. Korhonen (FIN) +12:22.1
9. P-J-M. Cracco (EST) / F Miclotte (BEL) +17:59.0
10. M. Aasen (NOR) / M. Engan (NOR) +39:36.3
FIA Junior WRC standings after round four of six
1. P. Tidemand (SWE) 105
2. J. Suárez (ESP) 63
3. S. Pärn (EST) 51
4. Y. Lemes (ESP) 51
5. M. Burri (SUI) 38
6. M. Koči (SVK) 36
7. N.Nieminen (FIN) 24
8. M. Aasen (NOR) 20
9. A. Amberg (FIN) 17
10. M. Bostanci (TUR) 7
Image 1: André Lavadinho
Image 2: McKlein