Things didn’t go according to plan for Pontus Tidemand in his first rally in the Swedish Championship in Team Tätab’s Ford Fiesta R2. He was in the lead after the first day of the rally, but after a few mishappenings on the second day, he lost time and finished third in the class.
Pontus and co-driver Ola Fløene opened up carefully with a fourth fastest time when South Swedish Rally started on Friday. But already on the second stage, they shared the fastest time with Fredrik Åhlin and after another two stage wins, Pontus took the overall lead in the class.
“We’re having great fun and I think we’ve had an okay start. It’s important training and I obviously think about how it can help me in the upcoming JWRC rallies”, said Pontus after the first loop of stages.
Friday evening focused largely on the tight fight between Pontus and Fredrik Åhlin. They both wanted the leader position, but Pontus managed to keep the margins on his side. The day finished with a shorter spectator stage on tarmac, a stage that originally was meant to run two times, but due to lack of time before the sun set, the organizers decided to cancel the second run. Pontus set a fifth fastest time, but maintained the class lead after the first day.
“We’re happy with the day and with being in the lead. We’re really looking forward to tomorrow, it will be an exciting fight for sure”, said Pontus after Friday’s seventh and last stage.
Saturday didn’t get the start that Pontus had hoped for. On the first stage of the morning, he had problems finding the right feeling in the car and afterwards he explained that it didn’t feel good and that he was running on 85% of his capacity. The bad luck continued on the next stage when Pontus hit a concrete barrier that damaged the right front wheel. That put a stop to fast times on following stages and instead he continued to lose time on every stage.
When Pontus came in for lunch service, he had gone from class lead to a fourth place with just over a minute to the first position. After the car was fixed at service, Pontus was the fastest man on the afternoon’s first stage and advanced to third place overall in the class. With still more than a minute to the top, Pontus used the last stages wisely. Instead of taking unnecessary risks, he saw the opportunity to do some tests and train for upcoming rallies. Despite that, he finished well by setting the fastest time on the last stage and ended up on a third place in his 2WD class and on a second place in the Junior Swedish Championship.
“It’s a bummer that it turned out the way it did. It was a good fight and you obviously get a little sad when it ends like this. But we’ve had the training we wanted and got a chance to try some different driving techniques for what’s to come”, says Pontus after the last stage of the rally.
Next up for Pontus is JWRC Acropolis Rally in Greece between 31 May and 2 June.
Top 5 2WD South Swedish Rally 2013
1. Fredrik Åhlin
2. Anders Kjaer +29,7
3. Pontus Tidemand +1.01,5
4. Mattias Adielsson +1.44,5
5. Anton Alkberg +2.53,9