Rally Portugal: ŠKODA’s Tidemand storms into lead of WRC 2 – teammate Nordgren up to sixth

› After a set back with two punctures during the Friday leg, WRC 2 Champions Pontus

Tidemand /Jonas Andersson powered their ŠKODA FABIA R5 back into the WRC 2 lead

› Despite another two punctures, ŠKODA Junior Team Juuso Nordgren/Tapio Suominen

climbed to sixth on the WRC 2 leader board at the end of Saturday

› ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek: “Pontus impressed me with his strong

performance on the longest day of the rally.”

Matosinhos, 19 Mai 2018 – During the Saturday leg of Rally Portugal, sixth round of the FIA

World Rally Championship, reigning WRC 2 Champions Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson

(SWE/SWE) stormed through the WRC 2 field and moved into the category lead. After two

punctures on Friday, the ŠKODA FABIA R5 crew had to fight back from fifth. Their Finnish

teammates Juuso Nordgren/Tapio Suominen, after having encountered the same bad luck

the day before, initially progressed a lot throughout the day. But another two punctures on

the last two stages of the day put them back to sixth in the WRC 2 standings.

The opening leg on Friday was one of the toughest in modern history of the FIA World Rally

Championship. A record number of punctures and the fact, that even in the main WRC class only

eight competitors made it to the day’s finish in Matosinhos near Porto, were a clear proof of the

tough challenge all the teams had to face. ŠKODA factory crews Pontus Tidemand/Jonas

Andersson and Juuso Nordgren/Tapio Suominen were as well affected by mishaps, both crews

suffering two punctures each. But apart from that, their ŠKODA FABIA R5 proved again to be rock

solid. Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson started Saturday in fifth position, Juuso Nordgren on

ninth place in the WRC 2 category. The longest day of Rally Portugal on Saturday, comprising of

six special stages totalling nearly 155 kilometres with a mixture of sandy roads, rocks and deep ruts

during the second pass of the stages, was waiting for the crews.

And the ŠKODA drivers started well into the day. Tidemand was fastest in the opening stage and

moved up to fourth position, while his young teammate Nordgren was second quickest. Once in a

good rhythm, Swedish WRC 2 Champion Tidemand started to storm through the WRC 2 field,

setting two more fastest times and moving up to second until the midday service break at

Matosinhos. Nordgren was third fastest on the longest stage of the rally, the 37 kilometres of

Amarante, and found himself in seventh place in the interim WRC 2 standings. After the service,

Pontus Tidemand set a string of fastest times, conquering the WRC 2 lead after the repetition of the

more than 37 kilometres long Amarante stage. Lukas Pieniazek delivered a great performance as

well, moving up to second of the day’s classification in his private ŠKODA FABIA R5. After suffering

two more punctures during the last two stages of the day, ŠKODA junior Juuso Nordgren

nevertheless reached Saturday’s finish sixth in the WRC 2 category standings.

“Pontus impressed me with his strong performance on the longest day of the rally. Now he is in a

good position for a hat-trick win in Portugal. I feel sorry for Juuso, but mishaps like these are part of

the learning process of a young driver,” commented ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek.

On Sunday (20 May), the spectacular Fafe loop with five stages on fast and smooth gravel roads,

including the famous jump, is set to be the spectator highlight of the event. The rally winner will

reach the podium on Sunday at 15h45 local time in Matosinhos close to Porto.

Standings Rally Portugal after Day 3 (WRC 2)

1. Tidemand/Andersson (SWE/SWE), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 3:29:22.7 h

2. Pieniazek/Mazur (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +1:19.4 min

3. Lefebvre/Moreau (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 R5, +2:07.7 min

4. Loubet/Landais (FRA/FRA), Hyundai i20 R5, +2:15.8 min

5. Arai/Macneall (JPN/AUS), Ford Fiesta R5, +2:52.8

6. Nordgren/Suominen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +4.06.6 min

Number of the day: 6

During the Saturday leg, ŠKODA factory crew Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson won all six


The calendar of the 2018 FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)

Event Date

Monte-Carlo 24/01/–28/01/2018

Sweden 15/02/–18/02/2018

Mexico 08/03/–11/03/2018

France 05/04/–08/04/2018

Argentina 26/04/–29/04/2018

Portugal 17/05/–20/05/2018

Italy 07/06/–10/06/2018

Finland 26/07/–29/07/2018

Germany 16/08/–19/08/2018

Turkey 13/09/–16/09/2018

Great Britain 04/10/–07/10/2018

Spain 25/10/–28/10/2018

Australia 15/11/–18/11/2018

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.

Catherine Van Geel

PR Manager, D'Ieteren NV

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