Pontus Tidemand secured the Junior WRC title in France three weeks ago and comes to Spain and the sixth and final round of this year’s JWRC series as a champion. But that doesn’t make him any less eager to fight this weekend – the podium is the goal in the WRC calendar’s only mixed surface event.
“It felt indescribably good to take home the championship with one rally to go”, says Pontus. “It’s definitely a relief to not be under any pressure in Rally de Espana, but already having the title doesn’t change anything in how we tackle this event. We have prepared in the same way as we always do. I want to gather as much experience as possible for the future so unnecessary risks won’t be an option, but at the same time it would be great to reach the podium as that would mean that we have been in top three in all the JWRC events this year.”
RallyRACC-Rally de Espana is the only rally in the WRC series that runs on both tarmac and gravel and this is also the first and only time this season that the JWRC crews drive all the stages of the event in their Ford Fiesta R2’s. Most drivers are termed as gravel or tarmac specialists and with that in mind, Rally de Espana offers an extra challenge in being able to quickly switch between the surfaces and it requires more from the cars’ setup. The Spanish roads differ from the German and French roads by being wider and more rythmic and are often described as similar to circuit racing.
“I will focus on finding a good rythm and go as fast as I can while trying to avoid trouble”, says Pontus. “To succeed in Spain, you have to find the right lines on the tarmac and manage the transition to gravel. My competitors will give all they have, perhaps especially Suarez and Lemes as they are on home soil, so I can guarantee that it will be an exciting weekend.”
The service park is located in the city of Salou and during the weekend, 15 special stages of 355,92 km altogether will be accomplished. The event begins on Friday with a ceremonial start at the cathedral in Barcelona, followed by three evening stages. Saturday’s itinerary offers six stages, and among them the longest (42,04 km) and the shortest (2,24 km) stages of the event. After two days on tarmac, it’s time to move over to gravel on Sunday when the last six stages await before the crews reach the finish line in the afternoon.
Follow the last JWRC event of the year here.
RallyRACC-Rally de Espana 2013
Friday 25 October
|SS1||Querol (tarmac)||21,26 km||20:03|
|SS2||El Montmell (tarmac)||24,14 km||20:44|
|SS3||Riudecanyes 1 (tarmac)||16,35 km||22:45|
Saturday 26 October
|SS4||Riudecanyes 2 (tarmac)||16,35 km||09:05|
|SS5||El Priorat 1 (tarmac)||42,04 km||10:05|
|SS6||Colldejou 1 (tarmac)||26,48 km||11:46|
|SS7||El Priorat 2 (tarmac)||42,04 km||14:33|
|SS8||Colldejou 2 (tarmac)||26,48 km||16:14|
|SS9||Salou (tarmac)||2,24 km||17:37|
Sunday 27 October
|SS10||Gandesa 1 (gravel)||7,00 km||07:33|
|SS11||Pesells 1 (gravel)||26,59 km||07:58|
|SS12||Terra Alta 1 (gravel & tarmac)||35, 68 km||09:04|
|SS13||Gandesa 2 (gravel)||7,00 km||12:57|
|SS14||Pesells 2 (gravel)||26,59 km||13:22|
|SS15||Terra Alta 2 (gravel & tarmac)||35,68 km||14:28|
Image 1: André Lavadinho
Image 2: McKlein