The second part of the WRC season is underway and the WRC 2 category is close to being decided. With just a few events left, the final hunt for points starts at this weekend’s tough Rallye Deutschland. SKODA Motorsport driver Pontus Tidemand leads the championship after a brilliant season and a strong finish at his two remaining rallies is all that stands between him and the title.
After fantastic results at his first five events – victories in Sweden, Mexico, Argentina and Portugal, as well as a second place in Poland – 26-year-old rally ace Pontus Tidemand and his co-driver Jonas Andersson are in a perfect position to take the world champion title. They have a chance to decide the outcome already this weekend – if they finish on top at the German WRC rally.
“Of course we are aware of the chance we have here, but that is something that I neither want nor will think about. We look at this rally like any other and when we are on the start line, we will give it our all to go for the win as we always do, no matter what is at stake. It is a matter of focusing on our task and if we succeed without unforeseen problems, then we will keep our competitors behind us” said Pontus, who now does his sixth event of seven with his SKODA Fabia R5 in the WRC 2 championship.
Rallye Deutschland is one of the most challenging and demanding asphalt events of the year with its “three-rallies-in-one” format. This year’s event also contains several news: the service area has moved from Trier to the popular resort of Bostalsee, the ceremonial start and the opening stage takes place in the heart of Saarbrücken and many of the special stages are new to the competing crews.
After Thursday’s street stage, three laps on a new super special stage on Friday, combined with classic vineyard stages in the Mosel Valley. The winding and narrow roads with corner after corner requires technical precision and a mistakes are often costly, at the same time as they contrast to Saturday’s stages in the military area Baumholder with the dreaded Panzerplatte and the fast country roads of Saarland. Sunday’s programme is new and mixes roads at the border to France and Luxembourg with stages close to Bostalsee.
“I like a good challenge and this is the most difficult rally of the fall, but also one of the coolest” said Pontus. “You need to be fast in adjusting between the different road surfaces and be prepared for rapid weather changes, which also affects the grip. Correct setup on the car, full concentration and quickly finding the rhythm when conditions change are important parts. There is no room for second chances in Germany, you have to play your cards right from the start.”
Pontus tops the overall WRC 2 standings with 118 points and his EVEN Management team-mate Ole Christian Veiby is behind him with 68 points. The Norwegian has however no chance of taking the title and that makes Pontus’ main competitor of the moment Teemu Suninen from Finland. He is currently third with 54 points and has four events left.
Rallye Deutschland starts on Thursday evening and 21 special stages and 309.17 kilometers later, the competitive cars reach the finish at lunchtime on Sunday.