Rally Portugal, the first rally in the 2013 Junior World Rally Championship, begins on Friday. On the starting line we will find an excited Pontus Tidemand, ready to do everything he can to win. The goal of this year’s international investment is nothing other than overall victory and with a massive support from EVEN Management and Tätab, the possibilities couldn’t be better.
Rally Portugal is driven in the areas around Algarve and Baixo Alentejo and for the drivers in Junior World Rally Championship (JWRC), there will be two competitive days – Friday and Saturday. The special stages of Portugal offers open roads as well as narrow and challenging sections and the characteristically rough surface puts high demands on both tyres and drivers.
On Friday awaits four longer stages and then the crews arrive to Lisbon for a shorter spectator stage in the evening.
Saturday is the longest day of the rally with about 160 km special stages divided into three stages that will be driven two times. For the JWRC crews, Saturday also includes the longest stage of their rally – a 31,12 km stage – and in the evening, a winner in this season’s first JWRC race will be crowned.
During the past weekend, Pontus and his co-driver Ola Fløene have been in Tuscany in Italy for a two day test as a preparation for Rally de Portugal.
“The test has gone very well and it feels great to be able to find the right feeling in the car before the rally”, says Pontus. “I remember from last year that the roads in Portugal was a bit different than what I was used to and the surface easily causes punctures. So this is a rally you have to drive with your head, not only drive fast.”
Pontus has Norwegian talent development and management company EVEN to thank for the opportunity to to drive another season in JWRC. They started their investment last year and will continue during 2013, now with an expanded program, where at least one more WRC start is planned. Tommy Andersson and Tätab also have a hand in the game. Tommy wants to help young rally talents to make it big and after having had a major role in Pontus’ participation in Rally Sweden, the cooperation grew and Tommy is now co-finansing the project.
“We think that Pontus showed an impressive progress during last year’s season in JWRC and in Rally Sweden this year he showed just how much capacity he has. With the experience of last year, Pontus has a great chance of winning JWRC this year”, says Erik Veiby, manager of Pontus and one of the owners of EVEN Management.
“Pontus is our big Swedish hope in rally at the moment and everyone has to try to help him reach that factory seat. Apart from being a terrific driver, he is also very down to earth, friendly and professional towards fans, media and sponsors”, says Tommy Andersson, owner of Tätab.
“I’m very grateful that they believe in me and make this investment”, says Pontus. “It’s not easy to make it internationally and get to drive on this level, but thanks to the support from EVEN with Erik Veiby in the lead and Tommy Andersson, this becomes possible for me and I will do everything I can to make the most of the chance now that I’ve got it.”
Last year was the first time that Pontus drove Rally de Portugal and he finished third in the JWRC class. This year he has more experience and aims high. This time victory is the goal, both in Rally de Portugal and in the overall JWRC series, where everyone drives the same kind of Ford Fiesta R2 cars, all prepared by M-Sport.
“I’ve got a real boost now with Pontus and our teamwork is excellent. I see a great potential in Pontus and I’m convinced that he is a future factory driver”, says co-driver Ola Fløene.
“With the experience from last year and the test I can’t do anything other than aim for the win. But as always it will be really tough as the competition is really hard in JWRC”, finishes 22 year old Pontus Tidemand.
Rally de Portugal starts on Thursday with a ceremonial start in Vilamoura Marina.
Time schedule Vodafone Rally de Portugal 2013
Friday April 12
|SS1||Mú 1 – 20,32 km||09:18 am|
|SS2||Ourique 1 – 18,32 km||10:25 am|
|SS3||Mú 2 – 20,32 km||11:48 am|
|SS4||Ourique 2 – 18,32 km||12:55 pm|
|SS5||SSS Lisboa – 3,27 km||06:15 pm|
Saturday April 13
|SS6||Santana da Serra 1 – 31,12 km||10:09 am|
|SS7||Vascão 1 – 25,37 km||11:36 am|
|SS8||Loulé 1 – 22,78 km||12:14 pm|
|SS9||Santana da Serra 2 – 31,12 km||03:09 pm|
|SS10||Vascão 2 – 25,37 km||04:36 pm|
|SS11||Loulé 2 – 22,78 km||05:44 pm|
Follow the rally live here.