With clever tactics you can go far – even all the way to the top if you are Pontus Tidemand. At this weekend’s Rally Turkey, he proved that sometimes it’s more crucial to drive with your head than your foot as his previous experience from the Turkish WRC event made way for his victory. This also means that he now leads the overall WRC 2 championship.
Rally Turkey is often called one of the roughest events on the WRC calendar and this year was no exception. The high temperatures combined with the unforgiving rocky roads quickly made it a tough event for many drivers – Pontus and his co-driver Patrik Barth got a taste of Turkey’s trouble already on the first short competitive day.
“On Friday we had three punctures. The first one at shakedown in the morning and the other two on the opening stages. Luckily we knew in the back of our heads that punctures would come, it was just a matter of when. We just continued according to our plan to drive smart and hoped that it would pay off” said Pontus and once again proves his strength when it comes to keeping cool and see the whole picture.
Saturday was a long and demanding day, but unlike his competitors, who got problems, Pontus and Patrik got through the day perfectly by having good balance between pushing and driving tactically. By the end of the day, they were leading the class by a minute and a half.
The last day of the rally was a big one, with the longest stage of the weekend as the main challenge. There was no doubt about what the plan was for the Swedish duo – to take care of their advantage all the way to the finish. That meant keeping a solid pace without taking any risks and simply stay out of trouble.
“To start the day with a stage this long was very difficult with dust and rocks everywhere, but we more or less just cruised through since we had the time on our side. On the second run we were faster but we still didn’t take any risks. We really enjoyed the two shorter stages and it felt fantastic to get to the finish knowing that we had secured the points we came here for” said Pontus, who took another two stage wins in addition to the four he got on Saturday.
With his victory in Turkey, Pontus takes the lead in the overall WRC 2 championship and can state that he has had a great season so far with podium finishes at all the WRC 2 events that he has done so far, including another win in Mexico.
“This is what we wanted out of this weekend, now we’re in the game for real. Patrik and the Toksport team are doing an amazing job and we are in a perfect position. Now we just have to keep going and work towards the next rally” said Pontus.