The 24 year old Swedish rally talent Pontus Tidemand has signed a contract with the Czech factory team ŠKODA Motorsport. Together with co-driver Emil Axelsson, he makes his debut on the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship’s first round in New Zealand on 17-19 April.
“I’m really looking forward to this new challenge. It makes me incredibly proud to see my name on the list of ŠKODA’s drivers – after all, ŠKODA is one of the most successful brands in rallying. I have been waiting for a chance like this for years and I will take care of it in the best way I can, both in terms of performance and development, to get a good result for ŠKODA Motorsport” said Pontus.
Despite his young age, Pontus has already had great success in motorsport. At age 13, he was crowned Nordic Champion in crosscart and in 2011 he became the youngest Swedish Rally Champion of all time. In 2013, he won the title Junior World Rally Champion and since then he has had success in both the FIA World Rallycross Championship and WRC 2. As recently as last year, he put on a spectacular show when he, with Emil Axelsson in the co-driver’s seat, took the WRC 2 victory at ADAC Rallye Deutschland. The agreement with ŠKODA Motorsport now allows Pontus to take the next big step forward in his career. The premiere as a factory driver is only a month away and takes place in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship’s season opener – International Rally of Whangarei in New Zealand.
“Our team already boasts the Asia-Pacific champion Jan Kopecký and European champion Esapekka Lappi, who have performed impressively in recent years. To ensure we are even better positioned to succeed in the future, we have now added another very talented duo, in the form of Pontus Tidemand and Emil Axelsson,” says ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek.
“We will do everything we can to take podiums and victories as soon as possible” said the experienced co-driver Emil Axelsson, who now teams up full time with Pontus.
ŠKODA is not entirely unfamiliar to Pontus – he already has experiences with the brand from the past years. Last year he triumphed in Norwegian Rally Finnskog with a Fabia Super 2000 and he also finished second overall in the Swedish Rally Championship 2012 with the same car. It is also with this car model that the new ŠKODA crew will start their season.
“We firmly believe in the extraordinary qualities of Pontus Tidemand and Emil Axelsson,” said Hrabánek. “We plan to have our team running the new ŠKODA Fabia R 5 in the APRC by the end of the year – after all, the season finale takes place in our most important market, China.”
Both Pontus and Esapekka Lappi are a part of Norwegian EVEN Management. Now they also become team colleagues and the management is very proud to have two of their drivers with ŠKODA Motorsport and looks forward to an exciting season.