Nothing could stop Pontus Tidemand in Portugal – not even two punctures. After a stunning fightback, he took the lead once again and held his position all the way to the finish line. With that, he scores hat-trick of victories at the Portuguese WRC event and continues to lead this year’s WRC 2 championship.
May 20, 2018
Pontus got a great start and was tied for the lead after Rally Portugal’s opening stage on Thursday evening. But Friday’s extremely rough roads took their toll on many competitive cars, so also Pontus’, who suffered two punctures during the day and lost nearly three minutes. He and co-driver Jonas Andersson quickly recharged and began their fight back into the game. On Friday’s remaining stages, they managed to climb to fifth place and had almost two minutes to first place.
During Saturday, the Swedish duo showed fighting spirit when it was needed the most. They made their Fabia R5 fly and were faster than their competitors on all six stages that were on the programme for the day. They survived the challenges without problems and impressively enough, they took the leading position before the overnight break – with a margin of a minute and a half.
“It’s not every weekend that you go from 17th to first place” said Pontus with a laugh. “But we had an incredibly nice feeling with the car, a good rhythm and everything worked flawlessly so we could just do our job. In the situation that we found ourselves in after the punctures we had nothing to lose but everything to win, so we gave it our all and hoped that it would still be possible.”
To reach the top and stay there was definitely possible. On Sunday’s five final stages, Pontus used his experience to get through with the right balance between speed and staying safe. He picked up stage win number 12 and 13 before crossing the finish line as the winner with over two minutes to second place.
“I couldn’t be more happy with our performance. We really fought for the victory, we didn’t just take the lead and hold on to it for the whole rally. Now we’ve also shown that we can strike from behind. This proves that you can never give up. I know I’ve said it many times before, but I’m so very grateful that I get to work with a team as fantastic as SKODA Motorsport. They always give us perfect material and the best tools to work with. That means everything when it comes to delivering results like this one today” said Pontus.
With this victory, Pontus also scores hat-trick of wins at Rally Portugal’s WRC 2 category and also secures his 30th podium in the WRC in 43 starts. Overall in the rally he finishes in eighth place. In addition, Pontus strengthens his championship lead and takes another step towards the season target: to defend his champion title.