During long competitive days in tough conditions on the wet and muddy Welsh roads, Pontus Tidemand took big steps forward in M-Sport’s Ford Fiesta WRC. Without drama or mistakes, he finished seventh – his best result so far in 2019. “I feel like I have cracked the code on how to drive a WRC car” said Pontus.
So far this year, Pontus Tidemand has done four WRC events during his first season in the highest class. The debut took place at Rallye Monte-Carlo on tarmac and ice, followed by Pontus’ home event Rally Sweden on snow. After that he had a seven months break from the championship before making a comeback in September at the Turkish WRC event, a rally that is the roughest gravel rally in the WRC series, and over the past weekend he took on Wales Rally GB, which is a demanding rally on slippery and muddy roads with unpredictable weather as one of the biggest challenges.
“These are four rallies with completely different character” said Pontus. “Every time I’ve had to handle the car on a new surface with new difficulties and thanks to that I’ve learned a lot and every time I’ve come home with more experience, but at the same time it’s been a bit like starting over at every event. But this is how you really get to know the car and that’s the only way if you want to be able to fight for real in the future.”
Pontus and his co-driver Ola Fløene had a tough start of their weekend at Wales Rally GB. They struggled with the set up and finding the rhythm. On Friday evening, Pontus began to enjoy the drive and started Saturday with the same nice feeling. Without any midday service during the day, they managed to both take care of the car and show progress as they set better stage times.
Four out of Sunday’s five stages could run as planned, while SS20 got cancelled due to rough sea conditions and not running the stage was a matter of safety. With a continued great feeling with the car, Pontus made one last good effort and wrapped up the Brittish event in seventh place overall, which is his strongest result in the WRC so far.
“We’ve had a great progress this weekend. We’ve improved every day and the pieces are coming together. I feel like I’ve cracked the code on how to drive a WRC car and I would have loved to drive for a couple of more days to improve even further. Now we’re losing approximately half a second per kilometer and I need to learn to brake later and go flat out where it’s possible. After a rally this tricky that also started in a tough way for us, it feels really good to go home with a positive feeling that we’re definitely on the right track. I hope to be back soon to continue fighting forward and up” said Pontus.