Rally Mexico belonged to Pontus Tidemand from first to last meter. With 17 stage wins of 22, he crossed the finish line as the WRC 2 winner – almost 7 minutes ahead of the runner-up. “The car has been like a dream to drive and now we’re fighting in the top of the championship standings” said Pontus.
Rally Mexico is demanding for both man and machine and the challenges are unique in its kind in the WRC series. A big part of the event runs at high altitude, which causes the engines to lose power and has to work harder in the thin air, just like it comes with an extra physical effort for the drivers. Combined with the fact that the majority of the stages are long, the Mexican event is definitely beyond tough.
SKODA Motorsport and EVEN Management’s Pontus Tidemand and his co-driver Jonas Andersson took a firm grip of the lead on the rally’s opening stage on Thursday – a unique street stage in the centre of the picturesque city of Guanajuato – and already there they began to pull away from their competitors.
With nothing but superior stage wins on the ten first stages, the seconds quickly became minutes and on Friday evening, Pontus had a gap of over three minutes to the Britt Gus Greensmith in second place. The time difference got further extended with a couple of minutes on Saturday when Pontus continued in a high speed on the fast and technical roads as well as the shorter spectator stages. Before the day had come to an end, he set the quickest time on five more stages and found himself with an enormous lead of more than five and a half minute ahead of the last day of action.
“The high pace comes easily when the car is like a dream to drive and everything works perfectly” said Pontus. “We quickly worked up a big lead so the close battle I was hoping for never happened, but this situation is familiar for us and I know that we can handle the mental pressure of not losing our focus. I still have to say that I’ve had a lot of fun and really enjoyed these nice stages. Every experience is important for the future and I’m so grateful for the stunning job that the team and Jonas do, that’s what makes it possible to perform on top.”
To get his SKODA Fabia R5 to the finish as the winner was the only task on Sunday. Three stages were on the schedule and Pontus set another two top times to add to his collection. After a total of 345 competitive kilometers in 30 degrees’ heat, he could finally secure his second victory in the Mexican WRC rally with a gigantic margin. With this, he takes the lead in the overall WRC 2 championship standings and also scores a seventh place in the rally – his best ever overall result in the world championship.
“Considering that our biggest goal this year is to defend the title in the WRC 2, it’s very positive to already have two podium finishes after two events. This win gives us the championship lead and although it’s early in the season, it’s a great feeling to know that we are up there fighting in the top. Now we really look forward to the next rallies” said a pleased Pontus.