Day 4 (Sunday, 20th May)
After winning all Saturday’s six SS’, crew Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson entered Sunday’s itinerary with a comfortable lead of 1:19.4, which gave us all a big dose of confidence when competing for Portuguese hat-trick. Although Pontus did not win all SS’ but two (5 of them on today’s schedule as he did on Saturday), he was still gaining more and more time in general classification. So after very tough Friday, glorious Saturday and pretty calm Sunday, we can officially announce that Pontus Tidemand won Rally de Portugal 2018 and completed Portuguese hat-trick with the closest competitor 2:06.5 behind.
The second Škoda Motorsport crew – Juuso Nordgren / Tapio Suominen – wasn’t that lucky as they continued like on a roller coaster. 3rd, 7th, 17th, 5th and great 2nd place during the day secured them 6th position in overall classification. We believe that without all those punctures, we would see Juuso much higher, preferably on podium…
Outside of the factory team Łukasz Pieniążek / Przemysław Mazur entered last 5 SS’ of Sunday’s schedule from wonderful second place overall. With a great performance of theirs, they were able to beat back all the attacks of those Fords, Hyundais and Citröens and bring perfect second place to the finish being beaten just by phenomenal Pontus Tidemand.
Congratulations to all and thank you very much for an amazing weekend. See you soon in Sardinia!
Final Result Rally Portugal (WRC 2)
1. Tidemand/Andersson (SWE/SWE), ŠKODA FABIA R5, 4:03:57.4 h
2. Pieniazek/Mazur (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +2:06.5 min
3. Lefebvre/Moreau (FRA/FRA), Citroën C3 R5, +2:23.5 min
4. Loubet/Landais (FRA/FRA), Hyundai i20 R5, +3:10.5 min
5. Arai/Macneall (JPN/AUS), Ford Fiesta R5, +5:31.6
6. Nordgren/Suominen (FIN/FIN), ŠKODA FABIA R5, +5.41.1 min
Current championship standings WRC 2 (after 6 of 13 rounds)
1. Tidemand (SWE), ŠKODA, 93 points
2. Kopecký (CZR) ŠKODA, 50 points
3. Greensmith (GBR), Ford, 40 points
4. Heller (CHL), Ford, 31 points
5. Katsuta (JPN), Ford, 29 points
Day 3 (Saturday, 19th May)
After rough Friday, when both ŠKODA Motorsport crews suffered several punctures, while many competitors didn’t even manage to finish, FABIA R5s are fighting their way back on Saturday stages. They started the day on the fifth (Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson) and ninth position (Juuso Nordgren / Tapio Suominen) respectively.
After winning all three of the morning’s stages, Pontus Tidemand managed to move up to the second place, while Juuso Nordgren’s second, fourth and third place was enough to get him to seventh spot overall. The crews have 8 stages left to catch up and return to the lead.
Outside of the factory team Łukasz Pieniążek is still doing a great job with a customer FABIA R5, moving down to the 3rd place only after being overtaken by Pontus Tidemand.
As the crew Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson started in the morning, they continued this afternoon. Winning everything they could. It was actually demolition of their competitors as in each stage Pontus was just smashing it. We also need to mention puncture of the French leader Stéphane Lefebvre on Citroën C3 R5 which cost him his fist place in overall standings. And who got the first place? Pontus! Now, he is on a very good way to complete his Portuguese hat-trick.
The second Škoda Motorsport crew – Juuso Nordgren / Tapio Suominen – did not have that much of a luck though. Their great performance in SS13, which they finished 4th, just 11.5 seconds behind Pontus, was interrupted by another unlucky puncture in SS14, which resulted in time loss of 2:01.0, 9th place overall and 4:08.4 behind Tidemand. SS15 got them back where they belong – 3rd place in SS and 6th place overall with 4:05.6 deficit on the first place of Pontus.
Still perfect job is done by Łukasz Pieniążek who got back to the 2nd place overall just 1:19.4 behind Pontus. That means we have two Škoda Fabia R5s on the first two spots. Guys, come on, we want to see all the Škodas on podium! Good luck on Sunday!
Day 2 (Friday, 18th May)
Friday morning tyre disaster – punctures slowed down both Juuso Nordgren and Pontus Tidemand in SS2 and dropped them down on the leaderboard with a time loss of 1:12.0, 1:25.9 respectively.
SS3 brought optimism back as Juuso finished 3rd (+2.1) and Pontus 4th (+5.0) moving our crews higher up on the overall leaderboard.
As SS4 ended the Friday’s morning itinerary, both our crews are back in their best pace with Pontus finishing 1st and Juuso 2nd, meaning that guys moved through the leaderboard very quickly – Nordgren 5th (+1:07.9), Tidemand 7th (+1:13.7). We hope to see them attacking the overall lead of Stéphane Lefebvre on Citröen. Good luck!
Friday at Rally de Portugal is over now, the afternoon brought a lot of joy as Pontus Tidemand won SS5, 7, 8 & 9. The downside is, his success did not reflect to overall standings, as he still sits on the 5th place due to quite large time loss in SS6 – 1:10.7 to be precise – another puncture. The overall leader is Gus Greensmith till tomorrow on his Ford Fiesta, 1:44.6 ahead of Pontus at 5th place meanwhile Jusso Nordgren is currently placed 9 – 2:43.1 behind the leader. Fabia R5 with Pontus proved to be the fastest car in WRC2 category – winning 6 stages out of 9 is no coincidence, we just need a bit more luck with our tyres. Anyway, Pontus’ Fabia R5 is not the fastest one so far as Łukasz Pieniążek hunts Greensmith’s Fiesta with just 34.3 seconds deficit.
Day 1 (Thursday, 17th May)
Once again, ŠKODA Motorsport crews proved that they are their own best competition. In the first special stage of Rally de Portugal, both crews – Pontus Tidemand with co-driver Jonas Andersson and Juuso Nordgren with co-driver Tapio Suominen – posted identical times. At 2:40.5, they finished in the shared first place, almost a second in front of the runner-up Pierre-Louis Loubet on Hyundai. It seems that another battle of ŠKODAs is in the works!
Watch us to see who prevails!
Rally de Portugal starts this evening with the first stage at Lousada rallycross circuit, but crews already got to show off their skills in the shakedown. For the ŠKODA Motorsport team, things are off to a great start – Pontus Tidemand scored first place in shakedown, with time (3:14.5) more than two seconds better than the runner-up Gus Greensmith. Juuso Nordgren ended 4th with 3:17.5.