Pontus Tidemand ready to take the chance at Rally Sweden
Once again, the dream comes true for 23 year old Pontus Tidemand when he on Wednesday gets into a Ford Fiesta RS WRC to await the start of Rally Sweden. This time he takes a step up and drives for M-Sport and with god preparation and support from several sponsors, Pontus and co-driver Ola Fløene are ready for the challenge on home soil.
"This is an incredible opportunity and I'm so grateful" says Pontus. "I've only driven one WRC event in a World Rally Car before and that was a year ago, but I definitely hope to be competitive and get to the finish with a good result."
Tidemand na trati Mountain Rally, foto: Benjamin A. Ward
Pontus has several sponsors, Swedish as well and Norwegian, to thank for this chance in Rally Sweden. The hard work to make it possible has been going on for months and Pontus, who also has EVEN Management and Tätab backing him up, could make his entry official in the beginning of January.
The preparations have included the Norwegian Championship event Mountain Rally, where Pontus finished as number one by the end of the day – a sign of strength for what's to come, even though it mostly was a practise run. The final step towards start was the pre event test on Sunday. Throughout the day, valuable kilometers were driven while Pontus got a chance to try out different settings.
"You have to be a perfectionist and make the most of those days" says Pontus. "We did everything we could to try as many fine adjustments as possible and take the right feeling with us now that it's only a few days left until the event kicks off."
Being the only Swedish driver in the WRC category in this year's Rally Sweden comes with a certain amount of pressure, but the support from the home crowd is just as large as the expectations. Pontus himself doesn't get caught up in the attention:
"Right now we're completely focused on the task. We've had a good preparation leading up to the rally and I feel like we're in a great position. The goal is to finish and gain more of the experience that is needed to one day be able to win, but it seems reasonable to aim for a top five result."
Rally Sweden is decided on 5-8 February and this year it runs from Wednesday to Saturday as the organisers want to avoid a collision with the Olympic Games in Sotji. The competitors drive 24 special stages that measures 328,4 km althogether and as usual the opening ceremony and the first super special stage takes place at Färjestad in Karlstad. The following day, the rally crosses the border to Norway and is mainly back in the Värmland region in Sweden on Friday and Saturday. This year's Rally Sweden includes two new stages: The Torsby stage on Thursday and Saturday's Hara stage, which has not been run since 2007. Finish and prize giving will take place on the square in Karlstad at half past five on Saturday afternoon.