After hard work and many negotiations, it is now official that the reigning Junior World Champion Pontus Tidemand will be participating in Rally Sweden in a top car. Thanks to the massive support from local sponsors, Pontus and co-driver Ola Fløene will come to start in a Ford Fiesta RS WRC running for M-Sport.
Rally Sweden is the second event in the 2014 World Rally Championship calendar and takes place between 5-8 February. Pontus made a renowned WRC debut in Rally Sweden last year, where he at one point was in fourth place with many established drivers behind him. This will be Pontus’ second rally in a world rally car and he is excited about the follow-up from last year:
“This is what we have been working for throughout the fall, so it feels really good to get it together before the very last minute. It’s a bit of a dream to get to compete with the best drivers in the world on home turf where you get so much support. I am indescribably grateful for everyone around me who make this dream come to life.”
Pontus is backed by EVEN Management and together with several companies who want to see their local rally talent battle with the world elite in the forests, the start in Rally Sweden has become possible. The top car that Pontus will be driving, a Ford Fiesta RS WRC, belongs to British M-Sport and Managing Director Malcolm Wilson is excited:
“I am delighted that Pontus [Tidemand] will be behind the wheel of a Ford Fiesta RS WRC at Rally Sweden. Having graduated from the FIA WRC Academy, he is another perfect example of Ford and M-Sport’s ‘ladder of opportunity’ in action and I am thoroughly looking forward to seeing how he develops.”
2013 was a real success for Pontus. He began the year by winning the Swedish Rally Sprint Championship, followed it up with the WRC debut and continued with an incredibly successful season in Junior WRC, where he was crowned Junior World Champion in October, with one event to go. By his side all year was the experienced Norwegian co-driver Ola Fløene, a teamwork that continues in Rally Sweden.
Being the big Swedish hope in the event comes with a lot of expectations and pressure, but Pontus is optimisticly realistic and feels up for the task:
“It will be a challenge, but tough competition is motivating. The feeling I had last year was great so if everything goes smoothly, I think top five is possible. Now we just have to make a good plan for the preparations and make sure to stay positive and focused. Then it’s just to do your best and try not to forget to enjoy it!
Malcolm Wilson is also excited to see what Pontus can accomplish in his home event:
“Last year’s event saw Pontus put in an incredible performance on his world rally car debut and I see no reason why we can’t see more of the same from him in 2014. It will certainly be great to see a Swedish driver in a top-specification car at home and I am sure that the Swedish flags will be out in force.”
Photo: André Lavadinho