After months filled with rallycross, Pontus Tidemand is back in the FIA World Rally Championship. He once again gets behind the wheel of M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta R5 now that it is time for the WRC season’s first asphalt event – the well known, feared and respected ADAC Rallye Deutschland.
“I’m really glad to be back in the WRC. I have done a lot of driving and competing over the last months and I hope that can be an advantage for me” says Pontus, who took his first Junior WRC win on tarmac in Rallye Deutschland last year.
Rallye Deutschland is often said to be one of the WRC series’ toughest events on asphalt. It is technically demanding and factors such as unpredicatable weather that makes tyre choice tricky and changing road character are often crucial for the outcome. The rally mainly consists of three different types of stages. The winding, narrow roads through the Mosel wineyards, Saarland’s smooth country roads where the cars go at maximum attack and the military areas, with the famous Arena Panzerplatte, which are characterized by various kinds of asphalt and the large concrete blocks ‘Hinkelstein’.
Pontus participates in WRC2, just as he did earlier this year in his debut with the R5 in Rally de Portugal, where he finished on the podium. This is his second event with this car, but also the first on asphalt. Pontus is accompanied by the experienced co-driver Emil Axelsson and over the past weekend, they have been testing an R5 on German roads as the final and most important step in the preparations.
“The German rally is a tough event in many ways” says Pontus. “To be able to fight for the top positions, you have to quickly find the balance between speed and clever driving regardless of road surface or weather conditions. The competition will be fierce and many of the other crews have had a full season in the championship so far. But this is the first rally on asphalt and that means a change for everyone. Things worked great for me on gravel in Portugal and I’m hoping to make as much progress this time.”
ADAC Rallye Deutschland covers a total of 326,02 km, divided into 18 stages. The weekend kicks off with shakedown on Thursday and the first proper stages will have to wait until Friday morning. The finish takes place at Porta Nigra in the hosting city of Trier on Sunday afternoon.