SKODA driver Pontus Tidemand is becoming more and more experienced when it comes to the WRC. He is doing his fifth year in the series, but has never participated at the Brittish round – until now. Wales Rally GB is known to be a muddy event and Pontus is ready to take on the fast gravel roads this weekend.
“Scandinavians usually do well in Wales since it reminds us of our roads at home, so I hope we can do well” said Pontus. “When you do an event for the first time, you haven’t got a lot to relate to in practice, but my target is simply to be as fast as I can be.”
The fast roads of Wales might not be the most technically demanding in the WRC, but it is often the unpredictable weather and the road conditions that make the event challenging. It is impossible to know what to expect – rain, fog, mud, snow and ice has previously been factors that the drivers have had to battle. This year, the rally is a bit earlier than usual, which means that it could be a drier event, but it hardly affects the degree of difficulty. Moreover, there is no service break during any of the three competitive days and it will be very important to keep the car intact in order to reach the finish at the end of the day.
“I think it’s important to find the rhythm as soon as possible, try to feel comfortable and dare to have confidence even in the most difficult conditions. Although I’m doing my first Wales Rally GB, I have a co-driver with a lot of experience from here and I hope that can strengthen us” said Pontus and referred to Jonas Andersson, who has been with him in the co-driver’s seat all year and the two of them have formed a perfect teamwork.
So far this season, Pontus and Jonas have participated at five events in this year’s WRC 2 championship and are in fifth place in the overall standings. They have finished on the podium at three of rallies, including an impressive win in Portugal. In addition to that, they also did the German WRC event out of competition in the WRC 2, but theoretically, the result could have given them a podium position. At the moment, they unfortunately do not have any chance to win the championship, but look at the rally like any other.
“On paper, it might seem like there’s less at stake, but the event is not less valuable because of that. We are here to chase a good result, both for ourselves and for SKODA Motorsport, and the experience we get here is really important to me and for the future” said Pontus.
Wales Rally GB starts on Friday morning with finish on Sunday afternoon. All in all, the rally includes 22 special stages of a total of just over 330 km. The service area is located to Deeside and the stages in mid and northern Wales.