Podium finishes at all events that he has competed at – three victories and two third places – are in the bag together with the championship lead in the WRC 2 as Pontus Tidemand arrives in Italy, ready for the final battle of 2020. Fierce competition and a real thriller await when ACI Rally Monza makes its premiere in the championship.
Despite a difficult year for rallying with several cancelled events and many question marks along the way, Swedish rally talent Pontus Tidemand and his co-driver Patrik Barth have performed exceptionally well for their German team Toksport WRT at the events that have been possible to conduct. Thanks to that, the team recently won this year’s Teams’ Championship in the WRC 2, while the leaders in the Drivers’ and Co-drivers’ Championships, Pontus and Patrik, will have to battle it out at one more rally.
“We have actually had a great season even though it has been a strange year for all of us. I’m really happy that we could help Toksport take the win in the Teams’ Championship and of course we want to do what we can to score the Drivers’ title too. It feels great that we currently have an advantage in the overall standings, but I’m also well aware that we are facing a very tough and difficult challenge this weekend” said Pontus.
ACI Rally Monza was a late addition to the WRC calendar and makes its debut in the series. A big part of the event is located to the legendary Monza race track and is combined with a day on the roads in the mountains in the foothills of the Italian Alps. The surface is asphalt, and it’s been a long time since Pontus competed on asphalt roads, but after a good test day he feels fit for fight.
“First of all, it was extremely fun to be back in the rally car and I’m almost surprised myself of how good it felt and how smoothly the adjustment to asphalt went” said Pontus. “We drove on dry roads today (Monday) and right now it looks like the weekend will be rainy, but we will make the best of whatever conditions we will have. Rain, fog or ice patches are not rare in the mountains this time of the year.”
The championship victory is within reach, but leaves no room for mistakes. The biggest competitor is the experienced Norwegian Mads Østberg, who is 18 points behind Pontus, while Adrien Fourmaux from France is another 21 points behind Østberg.
“We want nothing more than to take the title and we know that we have to give everything we have got for that to be possible. Our competitors have been both competing and testing a bit more on asphalt lately and the last time I competed on asphalt was in Monte Carlo in January last year. Then I was in a WRC car, but the last time I drove an R5 on asphalt was in Germany back in 2017. But I’m still hoping to be competitive enough – we won’t hold back” said Pontus, who has a chance of securing his second WRC 2 champion title this weekend.