Pontus Tidemand is ready to put on a real fight at Wales Rally GB. As last year’s dominant winner, he has great memories from the event and in the battle for important championship points, he will not hold back this weekend. “We are extremely motivated to give all we have to take the chance” he said.
The WRC event in the UK makes most rally enthusiasts think of muddy roads surrounded by forests in autumn colours where it is easy to make a mistake. It might not be the most technically demanding rally on the calendar but unpredictable weather with rain, fog and sometimes even ice combined with constantly changing grip turns it into a unique challenge.
But despite the difficulties, this is a rally that so far has suited SKODA Motorsport driver Pontus Tidemand and his co-driver Jonas Andersson very well. Two years ago they finished second and last year they took a dominant win with a margin of almost two minutes in tough conditions.
”The Welsh roads remind me of the roads back home so I think Scandinavians might have a bit of an advantage” said Pontus, who usually feels comfortable on slippery and muddy roads. “You need to be confident, quickly find the rhythm and not be affected by factors like the weather at the same time as you adjust to it and is prepared for everything.”
We are approaching the end of the season of this year’s FIA World Rally Championship and the battle for the top positions gets more and more intense. Pontus is currently second in the overall WRC 2 standings, 32 points behind his leading team-mate Jan Kopecký, after a great season with three victories (Mexico, Argentina and Portugal) and one second place (Sweden). Unfortunately he had to retire from Rally Turkey a few weeks ago and lost points, but he has recharged and is eager to fight until the end.
”Of course we are looking for revenge and that gives us an extra boost this weekend” said Pontus. “But other than that we’re just looking at what’s in front of us and not in the rear view mirror. Only the six best results out of seven will be counted at the end of the season and neither we or Jan (Kopecký) has done our final rallies yet so we will just have to wait and see. One thing is at least for sure and that is that we are extremely motivated to give everything we have to take the chance. It would be an amazing feeling to be able to repeat last year’s victory!
A total of 23 special stages, measuring 318.13 kilometers will be mastered at Wales Rally GB. The action begins in a spectacular way on Thursday evening with jumps and flames lighting up the sky at Tir Prince raceway. Friday’s stages are located to the northern part of Wales while ‘Super Saturday’ runs in the middle part and is the longest day of the rally with classic stages like Myherin and Sweet Lamb Hafren. To make the challenge even bigger, there is no midpoint service break on Saturday, only a tyre change, which makes is crucial to look after the car. On Sunday, the crews head north again where the last five stages await before reaching the finish line.