The WRC season is approaching its end and to come home from Rally Spain with a good result was important both to EVEN Management’s Pontus Tidemand and his team SKODA Motorsport. And Pontus did what was required from him when he, despite some technical trouble, delivered fast and tactical driving to secure second place in the WRC 2 class.
The Spanish WRC round kicked off with one of the championship’s most spectacular street stages on the streets of Barcelona on Thursday evening before continuing with gravel stages on Friday. Pontus Tidemand showed great speed despite the difficult conditions after heavy rain and on the last stage on Friday, he took the lead from Czech Jan Kopecký, who also is a SKODA works driver.
As the only event in the WRC calendar where gravel and tarmac is mixed, the challenge grew when cars as well as drivers needed to readjust for Saturday’s legs on tarmac. Pontus, who is joined by Jonas Andersson in the co-driver’s seat, got into the rhythm already in the morning but was challenged by Kopecký, who is known to be a tarmac specialist. It turned out to be a battle between the two SKODA drivers and thanks to his vast experience, Pontus could stay on the right side of the limit at the same time as he kept the excitement alive.
“The more speed, the bigger risks and in a situation like this, our position was too valuable to jeopardize” explained Pontus. “I can also confess that we had some technical issues that held us back. We did not by any means give up the thought of repeating last year’s victory, but we were well aware of the job we needed to do.”
Pontus kept his mature approach during the final day of the rally and managed to set the fastest time on Sunday morning’s first two stages, which altogether gave him five stage wins this weekend. His team-mate Kopecký took the WRC 2 win with Pontus only 15 seconds behind.
“I’m happy that we could perform this well to give SKODA first and second place, which was the big team goal for the weekend. Personally I was hoping to be able to repeat last year’s victory as this unfortunately means that we have no chance of winning the championship. But we did our best after the circumstances and we finished with a great feeling since everything worked perfectly on the last day. The experience we got here will absolutely be useful, I’m obviously hoping to be back next year” said Pontus with a smile.
Pontus and Jonas will be back in the WRC already in two weeks when it is time for Wales Rally GB, which takes place between the 27th and 30th of October.