Pontus Tidemand stayed cool to claim WRC 2 victory on Sunday at Rally Turkey, establishing himself as the new championship leader in the process.
The Swede, driving a Skoda Fabia Rally2, stuck to his game plan from beginning to end. With a focus on staying in the middle of the road and avoiding big rocks, Tidemand snatched the lead when his rivals hit trouble on Saturday morning and maintained a comfortable advantage for the remainder of the event.
He crossed the finish of the final Marmaris speed test on Sunday 1min 42.9sec clear of his nearest challenger and climbed to first in the championship standings.
“For sure, it’s good for the championship. A tough rally, but it’s the same for everyone. We wanted to take maximum points here and we did it, now we need to keep it going on the next event,” he said.
M-Sport Ford hotshot Adrien Fourmaux was second in his Fiesta R5. The Frenchman’s event featured a mixture of promise and disappointment.
After building up an impressive 33.7sec lead on Saturday morning, he picked up a rear left puncture in the daunting Yeşilbelde speed test and dropped over two minutes.
Despite claiming six storming stage victories over the weekend, Fourmaux’s loss was too severe and he couldn’t catch the time back.
“I am satisfied because it was a big challenge on our first time here. I’m also a bit disappointed because we wanted to beat Pontus but we got a puncture on Saturday. That’s rallying and we know we showed good pace this weekend,” he explained.
Norwegian star Eyvind Brynildsen rounded out the top three in another Skoda. He had plenty of his own dramas to contend with, including a puncture and a wheel falling off on Saturday morning.
In true rally spirit, he and co-driver Ilka Minor battled through and eventually finished 1hr 08min 24.7sec adrift of the leaders.
“It’s been a difficult one, but in the end I have to be happy. I am just a normal guy going to work during the day and I am lucky that on the weekends I can play with the big boys!
“I really put a lot of effort in to be able to sit here, and I have to say I enjoyed it even though it was a difficult weekend. We go to Sardinia hoping for a bit more luck,” Brynildsen said.