Pontus Tidemand starts another year as a SKODA driver with the WRC season premiere in Monte-Carlo. It is the most prestigious, but also the most treacherous rally that awaits, and Pontus looks forward to a challenging weekend with new experiences.
Pontus is not trying to hide the fact that he and his co-driver Jonas Andersson are going for the top spot in the WRC 2 championship during the 2017 season. Seven events are nominated and the six best results are counted in the end of the year. The hunt for the important points starts on home soil at Rally Sweden in February. But they kick off their season before that – this weekend, they are on the start line of Rallye Monte-Carlo to get into competitive mode and gain experience from an event that Pontus have never done before.
“Rallye Monte Carlo is one of the most classic, and challenging, events in rally history and I look very much forward to doing it for the first time” said Pontus. “I expect to face new kinds of difficulties with the combination of snow, ice, dry tarmac and unpredictable weather. It will be extremely demanding and tricky as this rally really tests any driver’s skills. But great to start building experience here since that is a key to succeeding in the long run.”
Rallye Monte-Carlo is the jewel in the crown of the WRC and with its premiere as early as 1911, it is the oldest rally on the calendar. It comes with more prestige than any other event and sets the bar high every year when it opens the WRC season. On paper, this is a tarmac rally, but in reality it is so much more. Road conditions can change several times during one stage and the drivers must quickly read the surface and be able to compromise between the need for grip in winter conditions and what is required on dry tarmac.
Pontus and Jonas have conducted some tests in mountain environments to prepare and after a couple of months’ break from competing, they are very much looking forward to start the rally. This time, in addition to SKODA Motorsport’s other works driver Jan Kopecký, they will be joined by their EVEN Management colleague Andreas Mikkelsen in the SKODA team.
“I can’t wait to get behind the wheel of the Skoda Fabia R5 and find that competitive speed again” said Pontus. “I’m also excited to have Andreas as my teammate this weekend. He is one of the best drivers in the world and it will be interesting to have someone like him to measure up against.”
This is Pontus’ third year together with SKODA and also this year, the main focus is on the WRC 2 championship, where he during the previous season finished on the podium at all rallies except two, including a grand victory at Portugal’s WRC event.
“I’ve had two successful and really enjoyable years with the Skoda Motorsport family and it feels great to have a third season in front of us. We started our teamwork by becoming APRC champions and it’s no secret that we’re aiming for the WRC 2 title this year. It’s all about a strong will, focus and thorough preparations and I feel confident knowing that Skoda will provide us with everything we need to always be fit for fight. Besides going for the title, my target for this year is to get as much time as possible behind the wheel and do as many events as I can to raise the bar of competitiveness.”