Torsby/Sweden, 12 February 2017 – ŠKODA works driver Pontus Tidemand (S) thrilled thousands of his compatriots in taking an acclaimed home victory in WRC 2 at the Rally Sweden. Having missed out on victory by a whisker last year, the 26-year-old and co-driver Jonas Andersson (S) dominated this time out at the only all-snow and ice rally on the WRC calendar. The ŠKODA FABIA R5’s dominance, which began last season, has now seen the car win 12 of the last 13 races in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2).
"I am proud of the whole team at ŠKODA Motorsport! Having opened the season with a one-two at the iconic Rally Monte Carlo, we have now produced another perfect display in difficult conditions at the Rally Sweden," said Michal Hrabánek. The ŠKODA Motorsport Director reserved special praise for his driving duo: "This year’s Rally Sweden was one of the fastest rallies on snow and ice in the history of the world championship. However, Pontus and Jonas were equal to all the challenges and produced a really impressive display in front of their home crowd."
After a cautious start, the Swedish duo took the lead for the first time on stage four. They then gradually extended their lead. Whether on the night stage around the service park in Torsby, or the famous Vargåsen stage with the "Colin’s Crest" jump, Tidemand was in a class of his own in front of the thousands of fans that lined the 300 kilometres of special stage. He also showed great composure, driving on the safe side on Sunday’s final three stages to ensure he completed the win without any major complications.
Pontus Tidemand was the fastest man on ten of the 17 special stages in his ŠKODA FABIA R5 and won the Rally Sweden with a 51.8-second advantage over Finland’s Teemu Suninen. Third place went to Ole Christian Veiby (N) who put in another impressive performance in a private ŠKODA FABIA R5. "Fantastic. That is the highlight of my career so far. My first home win at the Rally Sweden in WRC 2 is a dream come true. Last year we narrowly missed out on victory by just 14.7 seconds, but that has only made this success all the sweeter," said Tidemand.
For Sweden’s Motorsport Athlete of the Year, this was the third WRC 2 victory in the ŠKODA FABIA R5, following wins in Spain (2015) and Portugal (2016). And there is no sign of it being his last victory this year. "Our goal is to win the WRC 2 title. We have made the perfect start," said Tidemand. Tidemand now tops the overall WRC 2 standings with 25 points, alongside Andreas Mikkelsen. The Norwegian won the opening round of the WRC in Monte Carlo for the ŠKODA Motorsport works team, finishing ahead of his team-mate Jan Kopecký (CZ).
The successful start to the 2017 rally year has seen the ŠKODA FABIA R5 enhance its reputation as the top car in WRC 2. The high-tech, four-wheel drive car from the Czech Republic has now won 12 of the last 13 races. The next challenge awaits in the form of the Rally Mexico, from 9 to 12 March, when Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson will hope to prove their title credentials in the heat and on gravel, rather than in the cold and on ice.
Final result of the Rally Sweden (WRC 2):
1. Tidemand/Andersson (S/S) ŠKODA FABIA R5 2:45:14.7 hrs
2. Suninen/Markkula (FIN/FIN) Ford Fiesta R5 + 0:51.8 min
3. Veiby/Skjærmoen (N/N) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 1:07.4 min
4. Camilli/Veillas (F/F) Ford Fiesta R5 + 3:12.4 min
5. Greensmith/Parry (GB/GB) Ford Fiesta R5 + 5:10.8 min
Number for the Rally Sweden: 13
The ŠKODA FABIA R5 was the outstanding car in its class on the snow and ice at the Rally Sweden. The turbo-powered car from the Czech Republic won 13 of the 17 special stages. Works driver Pontus Tidemand was the fastest man on ten occasions, while talented youngster Ole Christian Veiby won three stages.
The 2017 calendar for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
Rally Monte Carlo 19.01.–22.01.2017
Rally Sweden 09.02.–12.02.2017
Rally Mexico 09.03.–12.03.2017
Rally France 06.04.–09.04.2017
Rally Argentina 27.04.–30.04.2017
Rally Portugal 18.05.–21.05.2017
Rally Italy 08.06.–11.06.2017
Rally Poland 29.06.–02.07.2017
Rally Finland 27.07.–30.07.2017
Rally Germany 17.08.–20.08.2017
Rally Spain 05.10.–08.10.2017
Rally Great Britain 26.10.–29.10.2017
Rally Australia 16.11.–19.11.2017