Pontus Tidemand ready for tough fight in Rally Finland

After great success in the first two rallies, Pontus Tidemand has the lead of the Junior World Rally Championship. Starting on Thursday, it’s now time for the third event, Rally Finland, which is also the last gravel rally in the JWRC calendar. With solid preparation and a massive focus, Pontus is ready to give all on the legendary Finnish roads.

Pontus has had a strong start of the international season. Already in this year’s first JWRC rally in Portugal, he and co-driver Ola Fløene took the victory and followed it up with a second place in Greece. After the summer break, it’s now time to turn to the Finnish forests for Neste Oil Rally Finland, an event that will be of great importance for Pontus.

“To be able to fight for the championship victory, it’s always an advantage to be in the game from start as you never know what turns the season will take”, says Pontus. “Both Portugal and Greece are technical rallies where you have to drive tactically, but in Finland you have to go flat out if you want to be in the top and the marginals are often tiny.”

Pontus is backed up by EVEN Management and Tätab and the time between the JWRC events is strategically planned to give Pontus as much practise opportunities as possible. A couple of weeks ago he participated in The Midnight Sun Rally, which gave him many extra kilometers ahead of Rally Finland.

“We’ve got good training since last event and we feel well prepared with both pacenotes and driving”, says Pontus. “This will be a tough rally with hard competition, but we aim high and will really try to do everything we can to finish on top.”

Rally Finland is often named as the fastest rally in the WRC series and the high speed combined with the character of the road requires a lot from driver and co-driver as well as the pacenotes. Both precision and perfection is needed to master all the crests and challenges that the roads offer.

All the JWRC crews drive Ford Fiesta R2 and this weekend they will tackle 19 special stages of a total of 259,11 km. The format of this year’s event is quite compact during the three competitive days with six stages on Thursday and nine on Friday, which is the longest day of the rally. On Saturday, the junior drivers will do the first loop of four stages and reach the finish line around lunch time after driving the famous stage Ouninpohja as their penultimate stage.

This will be the second time that Pontus competes in Rally Finland. Last year he impressed big by being fastest on all stages during the last day of the rally and finished in second place in the junior class.

After two events in this year’s Junior World Rally Championship, Pontus is in the lead with 56 points, ahead of Spanish José Suarez’ 46 points. Estonian Sander Pärn is in third place with 19 points.

Follow the rally live here.
Listen to WRC here.

Itinerary Rally Finland 2013 (local time, CET+1):

Thursday 1 August

SS1 Himos 1 4,45 km 12:15
SS2 Torittu   1 8,30 km 13:40
SS3 Koukunmaa 13,68 km 15:18
SS4 Torittu   2 8,30 km 17:34
SS5 Himos 2 8,72 km 19:00
SS6 Killeri   1 2,06 km 20:30

Friday 2 August

SS7 Jukojärvi   1 21,90 km 9:48
SS8 Palsankylä   1 13,92 km 10:56
SS9 Mökkiperä   1 13,74 km 11:41
SS10 Lankamaa   1 23,66 km 12:44
SS11 Jukojärvi   2 21,90 km 15:36
SS12 Palsankylä   2 13,92 km 16:44
SS13 Mökkiperä   2 13,74 km 17:29
SS14 Lankamaa   2 23,66 km 18:32
SS15 Killeri   2 2,06 km 20:30

Saturday 3 August

SS16 Surkee 1 14,95 km 8:26
SS17 Leustu 1 9,65 km 9:24
SS18 Ouninpohja   1 33,01 km 10:32
SS19 Painaa 1 7,49 km 11:50

Photo: McKlein