Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Jonas Andersson (SWE/SWE) not only celebrated their third WRC 2 win in 2017 with their ŠKODA FABIA R5, they also took over the outright lead in World Rally Championship category WRC 2. On the last two legs of the event nobody was able to follow the speed of the Swedish pairing. At the finish line in Villa Carlos Paz in the west of Cordoba, Tidemand/Andersson celebrated the win with a huge margin of more than ten minutes ahead of private ŠKODA team Juan Carlos Alonso/Matias Alejandro Mercadal. Since Rally of Spain in 2016 the ŠKODA factory teams is now unbeaten for the eighth time in a row.
On Saturday morning, Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson had a “big moment”. In a huge watersplash a hidden stone bent the protection plate of the rear differential. From there on Tidemand had to finish the stage in a very careful style. He also had to proceed through two more stages before the car could be attended to by mechanics in the service area. The ŠKODA FABIA R5 proved itself rock solid and Tidemand reached the service without notable time loss.
From then on Tidemand drove with a controlled speed, while his competitors struggled with all kind of problems. The Swedish pairing finished with more than nine minutes in front of their closest rivals Alonso/Mercadal (ARG/ARG) after the Saturday leg of the Rally.
On a sunny Sunday morning, three more stages in the south west of Cordoba were waiting for the competitors, including the famous El Condor-Copina stage. One driver characterized this particular stage “like driving on the moon”. Nearly no vegetation, a small and winding gravel path between rocks as big as houses and hundred thousands of enthusiastic spectators along the road make up for an unique background in the world of rallying. Swedish pairing marked 12 fastest times in WRC 2 on 18 special stages.
“A smooth morning, no drama or mistakes. We are here and I am so happy about this. Now we must keep focussed to avoid any stupid mistakes”, Tidemand said after the first El Condor run. He followed his plan and brought the car to an outstanding victory back to Villa Carlos Paz. The Argentinian duo Juan Carlos Alonso/Matias Alejandro Mercadal, running a private entered ŠKODA FABIA R5, finished on second place in the WRC 2 category.
“Pontus and Jonas impressed me a lot at Rally Argentina – they made a very strong performance and drove ‘Simply Clever’ to an outstanding victory”, concluded a very delighted
ŠKODA Motorsport boss Michal Hrabánek on the podium in Villa Carlos Paz.
Final Result Rally Argentina (WRC 2):1. Tidemand/Andersson (SWE/SWE) ŠKODA FABIA R5, 3:55.42,7 h2. Alonso/Mercadal (ARG/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 10.11,3 min.3. Guerra/Cué (MEX/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 43.05,5 min.4. Saba Rodriguez/Mussano (PRY/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 50:14,6 min.5. Ptaszek/Szepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 52.14,6 min.
Current championship standings WRC 2 after five rounds:1. Pontus Tidemand (SWE), ŠKODA, 752. Andreas Mikkelsen (NOR), ŠKODA, 503. Eric Camilli (FRA), Ford, 464. Teemu Suninen (FIN), Ford, 365. Benito Guerra (MEX), ŠKODA, 30
Number of the day: 15From the last 16 World Championship rallies ŠKODA won 15. Since Rallye of Spain last year, the factory team is unbeaten and scored eight wins in a row.
The 2017 calendar for the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2):Rally Monte Carlo 19.01.–22.01.2017Rally Sweden 09.02.–12.02.2017Rally Mexico 09.03.–12.03.2017Rally France 06.04.–09.04.2017Rally Argentina 27.04.–30.04.2017Rally Portugal 18.05.–21.05.2017Rally Italy 08.06.–11.06.2017Rally Poland 29.06.–02.07.2017Rally Finland 27.07.–30.07.2017Rally Germany 17.08.–20.08.2017Rally Spain 05.10.–08.10.2017Rally Great Britain 26.10.–29.10.2017Rally Australia 16.11.–19.11.2017