Villa Carlos Paz, 29 April 2018 – Reigning WRC 2 Champions Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (SWE/SWE) repeated their last year’s victory at Rally Argentina, fifth round of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The Swedish pairing takes the lead in the WRC 2 championship standings from ŠKODA teammate Jan Kopecký, who did not compete in Argentina. ŠKODA factory crews Tidemand/Andersson and Rovanperä/Halttunen (FIN/FIN) where leading the WRC 2 category going into the event’s last day. But in the penultimate stage, Rovanperä went off the road close to the finish. Thanks to the safety package of the ŠKODA FABIA R5, the crew was unhurt, but had to retire. Norwegians Ole Christian Veiby and Stig Rune Skjaermoen, another duo of ŠKODA juniors, thanks to a great performance finished second in RC 2 class, which includes the WRC 2 category.
On the final day of Rally Argentina three more stages, covering 55.27 kilometres, had to be driven.
Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Jonas Andersson tried everything to catch their young Finnish teammates. With a tremendous effort on the opening "El Condor" stage, they were 13.3 seconds quicker than Rovanperä/Halttunen, reducing the gap to only 9.9 seconds. On the penultimate stage, the Finnish youngsters went off the road close to the end of the stage. Thanks to the safety package of their ŠKODA FABIA R5, they escaped without injury, however.
With the WRC 2 lead back in his hands, Pontus Tidemand drove cautiously in the last stage and won the category with the huge margin. The Swedish crew moved as well into the lead of the WRC 2 championship standings. "Sorry for Kalle. We had a tense fight and I always followed our Team instructions. I believed in my speed myself and obviously did not want to win this way," Tidemand said.
After two punctures on the Saturday stages ŠKODA junior O.C. Veiby managed to regain the third position in RC 2 class after a fast time on the opening Sunday stage. In the end, the Norwegian finished in second place.
ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek commented: "Accidents are a part of the game. Luckily, the safety standards of modern rally cars like our ŠKODA FABIA R5 are extremely high. So Kalle and Jonne escaped from that accident without being injured. Nevertheless, I want to thank both crews for the tremendous performance they delivered, the whole ŠKODA Motorsport Team did an excellent job."
Final Result Rally Argentina (WRC 2)
1. Tidemand/Andersson (SWE/SWE), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 3:55:44.7 h
2. Greensmith/Parry (GBR/GBR), Ford Fiesta R5, +7:39.1 min.
3. Heller/Olmos (CHL/ARG), Ford Fiesta R5, +9:02.9 min.
4. Dominguez/Galindo (MEX/MEX), Hyundai i20 R5, + 15:49.6 min.
5. Solans/Ibanez (ESP/ESP), Ford Fiesta R5, +37:43.9 min.
Current standings WRC 2 (after 5 of 13 rounds)
1. Tidemand (SWE), ŠKODA, 68 points
2. Kopecký (CZR) ŠKODA, 50 points
3. Greensmith (GBR), Ford, 36 points
4. Heller (CHL), Ford,30 points
5. Katsuta (JPN), Ford, 29 points
Number of the day: 18
All of the 18 stages of Rally Argentina were won by teams competing in a ŠKODA FABIA R5.
The calendar of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Great Britain 04/10/–07/10/2018
ŠKODA Motorsport Overview
ŠKODA has been successful on the motorsport scene since 1901. Be it on the circuit or in rallies, ŠKODA has celebrated victories and won titles all around the world. Historical highlights include winning the title in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) for the first time in 2016, numerous title wins in the FIA European Rally Championship (ERC), the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC), as well as the victory in the European Touring Car Championship in 1981. ŠKODA teams have also triumphed in the world’s oldest and most famous rally, taking several class victories in the legendary Monte Carlo, which was first held in 1911.
The ŠKODA FABIA R5, a high-tech 4x4, was homologated by the International Automobile Federation FIA on 1 April 2015. ŠKODA’s new FABIA R5 is successfully continuing the long tradition of ŠKODA Motorsport. Its predecessor, the FABIA SUPER 2000, won 50 national and international titles around the world. In the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) 2016, Esapekka Lappi/Janne Ferm (FIN/FIN) won the title for the Czech car maker. In total, ten of the 2016 season’s races in the World Rally Championship were won by a ŠKODA FABIA R5. ŠKODA drivers Gustavo Saba (PRY) and Gaurav Gill (IND) also won the continental championships in South America and the Asia-Pacific region at the wheel of the successful ŠKODA FABIA R5. Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT) was unbeatable in the Middle East Rally Championship (MERC), while a further ten national titles also went the way of ŠKODA drivers.
2017 was the most successful year in the history of ŠKODA Motorsport. Works duo Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson (S/S) became WRC 2 Champions, ŠKODA Motorsport won the Team Championship. Jan Kopecký/Pavel Dresler (CZ/CZ) won the Czech Rally Championship (MČR) for the third time in a row and are the spearhead of in total 14 crews winning their country’s national titles. Furthermore the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship (APRC), the FIA South American Rally Championship (CODASUR) and the FIA African Rally Championship (ARC) have been won by teams competing in a ŠKODA FABIA R5.