To go from cold and snow to heat and gravel was no problem for Swedish rally talent Pontus Tidemand. A month after the victory at Rally Sweden, he repeated the success in complete opposite conditions when he took the win after a close battle at this weekend’s Rally Mexico.
Rally Mexico is literally the FIA World Rally Championship’s high-flying event with altitudes that reach almost 2750 meters above sea level. The stages runs in demanding and varied terrain and put both man and machine to the test. Pontus came to Mexico without any previous experience from the rally, but was nevertheless one of the favorites for the win. And he did not disappoint anyone as he swooshed through the barren landscape towards the WRC 2 victory.
“What an incredible rally we have had” said Pontus. “The goal was to get through this tough event and score as many points as possible, but given that this was my debut, the experience itself was just as important. We could not have had a better start to the championship season with two wins in a row and right now we are just going to enjoy it.”
SKODA Motorsport and EVEN Management driver Pontus, who is accompanied by Jonas Andersson in the co-driver’s seat, got a flawless start on the street stage in the heart of Mexico City on Thursday and immediately took the WRC 2 lead. On Friday it was time to step up the game with the first demanding full-length stages, among them the longest stage of the WRC, and three short spectator stages. Pontus found a good pace in his Fabia R5, took several stage wins and got a half a minute’s gap down to Frenchman Eric Camilli in second place.
On Saturday’s long route, Pontus expected to be challenged by Camilli, who is both fast and has previous experience from the rally. His predictions were correct – the Frenchman nibbled seconds and eventually he took over the lead. But Pontus quickly proved his mental strength by putting pressure on him and the close battle was a fact. They were equally fast but in the end Pontus got the upper hand and a two seconds’ lead ahead of the final day.
In the thriller’s final settlement, Pontus once again showed that he can deliver when everything is at stake. Already on the first of Sunday’s two stages, he extended his lead by 22.5 seconds and increased it with nearly as much on the very last stage. In total, he took 11 stage wins out of 17 and won over Camilli by 42.7 seconds. Mexican driver Benito Guerra finished third.
“The great fight was the icing on the cake and made sure we had excitement all the way, just the way I like it, and at the same time it brought out the best in us. We went with a different strategy today and pushed harder to secure the win and that plan worked. A perfect effort by the team and Jonas” said a pleased Pontus, who now strengthens his lead in the overall WRC 2 championship standings after two of seven nominated events.