A few bumps on the road, but Swedish rally star Pontus Tidemand still managed to turn his home event Rally Sweden into something really good when he finished eighth with many positives to take with him. “Fantastic stages, incredible support and lots of improvement over the weekend. I just wish the rally was longer” said Pontus.
Rally Sweden began slightly troublesome for Pontus Tidemand, who has taken the step from WRC 2 to WRC this season and now drives a Ford Fiesta WRC for British M-Sport. After a tricky super special stage on Thursday, non-working wipers gave him a hard time on Friday morning and a technical problem with a throttle sensor did not make it any easier. Luckily, the team took care of it at service and Pontus and his Norwegian co-driver Ola Fløene came back out and mixed in with the top drivers by setting a fourth quickest time.
“On Friday afternoon we could finally start enjoying the rally and fully take in the atmosphere despite an issue with the steering that made it difficult for us to attack the way we wanted to” said Pontus.
An adjustment was made on Friday evening, but on Saturday, the issue turned out to be even worse. Due to that, the Swedish-Norwegian duo were careful on the morning stages and after making a small change to the car at midday service, the car was perfect and they could change their game plan once again.
“When we eventually became one with the car, it was incredibly fun to drive, especially on these amazing stages – my favorites in the WRC for sure. Considering our start position, I think we did a good job, there’s not much more to do. I was really pleased with our performance on Saturday afternoon and felt like this was when the rally should have started” said Pontus.
The last challenge of this year’s Rally Sweden awaited on Sunday. Pontus target was simply to enjoy it as much as possible and get the last important kilometers in the car. With full focus, he made it through the final three stages and finished eighth overall.
“It would have been fun to fight in top five and without the problems it might have been possible, but at the same time I have to remind myself that this is my second rally in a new-generation WRC car and I need to be realistic about it, no matter how badly I want to have a great result. It takes time to get a feel for it and although it gets better for every day I have in the car, I know I need more time behind the wheel. I wish there were several stages left so we could do something more. But I’m hoping for more chances so that we can battle for real” said Pontus.
“There are so many positives to take with us from this rally. We have to continue analyzing, but we know that we have been fast on some stages and on some sections more than other. We didn’t make any big mistakes and brought a clean car to the team at service every evening. You can take risks and be really fast, or you can be here. That’s more or less what it has been about this weekend and to be able to win rallies one day, you need to finish and that’s where we stand right now. We’re in it for the long run and I think we’re building something good here. You need much time in the car to get used to it” said Pontus and added:
“There’s nothing more fun than to get to do Rally Sweden and this is not something that I take for granted, so I really appreciate that M-Sport and my local partners made this possible. I would also like to thank everyone that has supported me. I can’t even begin to describe the kick I get from seeing all the flags in the stages and meeting fans who get up in the middle of the night to make it to the forest to cheer on us early in the morning. Hats off to you!”