The Portuguese ERC round was far from an easy mission. Rain, rutted roads and troubles made Pontus Tidemand’s weekend the opposite to what he had hoped for. “It’s rally, sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan and this was one of those rallies” he said.
After a solid start on the opening spectator stage on Friday evening, Pontus Tidemand and his co-driver Julia Thulin were just 2,9 seconds off the lead of Rally Serras de Fafe e Fegueiras. Everything worked well on Saturday morning’s first longer stage, but on the following stage, the engine of their Ford Fiesta Rally 2 got overheated and to not risk any damages, they had to be extra careful. The fact that it started raining heavily didn’t help. They had a tough morning before they, after one of the stages got cancelled due to safety issues, made it back to service to have a proper look at the car.
“The team quickly found the problem and could fix it” said Pontus. “Now we also knew a bit more about what to expect during the afternoon, so we made a few changes to the car to make it as suitable as possible for the second loop.”
But the afternoon did not turn out as expected. Out of the four stages that the loop originally had, two of them got cancelled due to the safety risks and a third was stopped after an accident. Only one stage ran as planned.
“Of course you want as many kilometers as possible to get into it. It’s kind of an anticlimax, but no can do. It’s the same bummer for everyone so all you can do is to just go back to service and recharge” explained Pontus.
On Sunday he had a much better feeling, that grew stronger during the day, and the car worked well on the somewhat drier but still very challenging roads. On the afternoon he reached the finish line in 13th place overall.
“This weekend was not at all what we hoped for. But it’s rally, sometimes it doesn’t go according to plan and this was one of those rallies. I still feel that we finished on a positive note and it has been a good experience, especially when it comes to learning this new package with a new car, a new team and a new co-driver. Everyone has been on top of their game and I’m happy to be working with such a great group of people. Now it’s all about getting ready for the next round” said Pontus.