Half a second. That is all that separated WRC 2 champion Pontus Tidemand and World RX champion Johan Kristoffersson after a thrillingly even battle at the Swedish Rally Sprint Championship. “We gave everything we had in the final and I’m very pleased with our performance” said Pontus, who finished second and took the silver medal.
Under the gazing sun, the Swedish rally elite competed for the rally sprint champion title during the ‘Swedish Championship Week’ in Malmö in the south of Sweden. With two world champions on the start line, the four-wheel-drive category already during the qualifying two heats turned into a battle of the giants. On the two kilometer long stage, Pontus was fastest in the first heat, while Johan was quicker in the second and in the final, they both were on top of their game to beat each other. After two nerve wracking final heats, where Pontus was just 0.3 seconds behind, Johan eventually took the victory by only half a second’s margin overall. With that, Pontus secured his third medal in rally sprint, this time a silver medal in addition to his two previous gold medals.
“What a day” said Pontus. “We did absolutely everything we could with what we had. After the qualifying heats, I felt that I had more to give and we really put it all out there in the final and did our best, there was nothing more to do. Johan was stronger today and he and his team deserve this victory, but I’m still very pleased with our performance. I haven’t competed in rally since February and to push this hard in the final and only be 0.3 behind Johan, who has basically lived in a competitive car lately, that feels really good.
For this event, Pontus also got a new co-driver next to him in Pontus Tidemand Racing’s SKODA Fabia R5 when WRC 2 driver Emil Bergkvist took Ola Fløene’s seat while he’s recovering from a concussion. Two drivers in one car might sound chaotic, but in this case it was a successful move and Pontus praised his temporary co-driver:
“Emil did an excellent job. He has a lot of experience from co-driving as well and that in combination with being a great talent behind the wheel made analyzing our driving very efficient. We also had fun together and I’m both happy and thankful that he could join us with such short notice.”
Already next weekend, Pontus is back in a race suit as he takes on the Swedish round of the Euro RX in Höljes.