Tidemand makes international comeback

It’s been two years since last time Pontus Tidemand competed outside of Sweden. Now, a month after becoming Swedish Rally Sprint Champion, he is ready to mix in with the international rally scene again. First up is Portugal’s ERC round.

“I have waited for a chance like this” said Pontus. “The past two years didn’t turn out the way I had hoped, but I have had the opportunity to recharge and get really hungry for proper rally fights again.”

During his time away from international events, he has remained active at home in Sweden. He has competed on selected rounds of the Swedish Rally Championship, all with podium finishes, he has taken the win in The Midnight Sun Rally’s Race of Legends and tried off-road racing in the premiere of SxS Nordic. He has also taken this Swedish Rally Sprint Champion title not once, but twice.

But now it’s time to make an international comeback. Pontus’ target is set on the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC) and he drives for the Swedish team GN Motorsport, where he is also a mentor for younger drivers, and MRF Tyres Dealer Team, the same team as he competed for in 2015 when he took the Asia-Pacific Rally Champion title.

“It feels like an important task to support future motorsport generations and to be able to use my experience. To also combine it with an ERC season is a dream scenario right now. Both GN Motorsport and the MRF team is incredibly driven and professional so I doubt that I could find better support” said Pontus.

This year’s European Rally Championship is something out of the usual with WRC level of competition already on the first round. 13 now reigning champions in both national and international championships will participate and to make it even more interesting, well-known WRC drivers like Irishman Craig Breen, Norwegian Mads Østberg and Hayden Paddon from New Zealand is competing as well.

“The ERC is the thing right now and I think the competition could be even more fierce than the WRC 2 category. There will be a whole bunch of top drivers who are ready to give everything to win and it’s fantastic to be a part of it. Our goal in Portugal is mainly to get a good result that gives us good points from start in the championship, but I have to admit that you always aim for the win in one way or another. That’s just how it is” said Pontus.

Pontus feels comfortable on Portugal’s roads. He has successfully done the Portuguese WRC event seven times and has won four times and finished on the podium at the other three.

“The surface in Portugal with mostly gravel and a few asphalt sections usually suit me pretty well and I’m a bit familiar with the roads in the area from previous WRC rallies.”

This year, Pontus is accompanied by a new co-driver, Julia Thulin, who is reigning Junior World Rally Champion after guiding Estonian Robert Virves to the title in 2022.

“Julia is very talented. A lot of will, meticulous in her work and determined. So far we have done two events together and our teamwork is great. I’m looking forward to seeing what we can accomplish this season” said Pontus.

ERC Rally Serras de Fafe e Fegueiras takes place between Friday and Sunday and consists of 17 special stages, measuring a total of 180 kilometers. The rally base is located to the city of Fafe, not far from the coast in the northern part of the country.