He had the chance to decide the outcome of the WRC 2 championship already at this weekend’s Rallye Deutschland, and that’s a chance he took. After a remarkably impressive performance during the season, the Swedish rally talent is now crowned WRC 2 champion 2017. “The feeling is absolutely fantastic, this is exactly what we have been fighting for” he said.
Pontus Tidemand had a dream start to his WRC 2 championship this year and has scored top result after top result. The first victory came at his first championship event of the season, Rally Sweden, in front of a delighted home crowd. A month later, he crossed the Atlantic to Mexico and then to Argentina – he finished both rallies on top of the podium. Victory number four came in Portugal in May and was followed up with a strong second place in Poland. These performances put him and his co-driver Jonas Andersson in a great position ahead of Rallye Deutschland and they traveled there with the chance of coming home with a world champion title.
“It’s one thing to know that you in theory can make it, and another thing to actually do it. We focused on performing as good as possible, even though we knew that we had to build our strategy after our position in the championship. We had a plan and we stuck to it” said Pontus, who once again showed his strength in delivering under pressure.
EVEN Management and SKODA’s Swedish duo was off to a great start in Germany as they immediately mixed in with the top fight. After the opening stage in Saarbrücken on Thursday evening and Friday’s narrow and technical vineyard stages, they were in second place with the top position within reach. But when the vineyards was replaced with the treacherous Panzerplatte on Saturday, Pontus and Jonas caught a puncture and lost about 50 seconds. Fortunately, they did not drop further down than third place and they managed to hold it ahead of the final day.
On Sunday, the only target was to complete the rally and Pontus biggest challenge was to keep his concentration when all he needed to do was to hold his position and finish. Mistakes often come when driving in a safe mode, but he got through the last stages in a controlled way and secured the WRC 2 champion title – with one event to go.
“The feeling is incredible” said a delighted Pontus. “This is exactly what we have been fighting for, it is what we have aimed for since last year’s season came to an end. Everything has worked perfectly for us this year, we have prepared every little detail ahead of every event and the car has been flawless. I’m so grateful for everyone who is with us on this journey, supports and makes sure that everything goes smoothly. Big thanks to Jonas, to SKODA Motorsport and EVEN Management. Teamwork is everything in this sport and we could not be backed up by a better bunch of people. Now we really have something to celebrate together before starting to work towards our next goal.”
The WRC 2 champion title is Pontus’ third international title in five years. In 2013 he became Junior World Rally Champion and in 2015 he took the Asia-Pacific Rally Champion title. Even though the fight for the top position in the WRC 2 series is over, seven events are included, which means that Pontus has one rally left at the same times as the rest of the championship will be decided over the next rounds.