As the only all-Swedish crew in this year’s ADAC Rallye Deutschland, Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Emil Axelsson got into the fight for victory from start. They took seven stage wins out of 17 possible and after a thrilling battle with Ott Tänak, Pontus could eventually finish the event as the winner of the WRC 2 category on Sunday afternoon.
This weekend’s event was Pontus’ second appearance in this year’s WRC 2 championship and not only the first time he drove M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta R5 on asphalt, it was also Pontus’ first time with a four wheel drive car in an asphalt rally. Yet he impressed already on the first stages on Friday morning. He did exactly what it takes to succeed in the German event – found the right feeling, a good pace and kept his cool on the challenging roads.
After completing the first competitive day in second place, Pontus took the lead on Saturday’s first stage. The competitors were quick, but Pontus responded to the pressure and was still in the lead going into the last stage of the day. That’s when bad luck struck. A puncture left him and Emil with no other choice than to stop in the middle of the stage, but thanks to a quick tyre change they didn’t lose more than a minute and a half. They dropped down to fourth place but the podium was still within reach.
On Sunday, there was nothing to do but attack with full force, a task that Pontus tackled brilliantly. He was up on third already after the first stage and when leading Julien Maurin suffered a puncture, Pontus found himself in a battle for the win. Only six seconds separated him and Ott Tänak when they started the final stage. Pontus beat the Estonian with 1.8 seconds and thereby took his first WRC 2 victory – in his second event in the category.
“This is the greatest rally win in my career so far and I’m super happy” says Pontus after reaching the finish line. “We have done our very best from start, taking risks when it has been necessary and all along we have had our eyes on the goal. The car has been working perfectly, just like the teamwork with Emil, and even though we have fought hard, we have been able to enjoy being back in a rally car again. I also like a proper fight, rally is at its best when the winner is not decided until the last stage is completed.”
Pontus’ plan is now to focus more on rally during the autumn at the same time as he finishes the World RX season. His next appearance in the FIA World Rally Championship will be in Rallye de France in early October and he also hopes to participate in Rally de Espana and Wales Rally GB.
“I am so grateful towards EVEN Management and Tätab for backing me up and making this possible, and M-Sport for giving me a really good and competitive car. Support like this means everything for the future and I will do everything I can to establish myself as a stronger driver for every race. My goal is crystal clear – a permanent seat in the WRC” says a smiling Pontus.
Results WRC2 – ADAC Rallye Deutschland
1. Pontus Tidemand (SWE) 3:18:55.6
2. Ott Tänak (EST) +1.8
3. Armin Kremer (DEU) +1:05.2
4. Julien Maurin (FRA) +2:41.0
5. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) +6:35.6