It’s necessary to have a lot of perseverance and willpower to at least finish Malaysian rally, the fourth round of Asia-Pacific Rally Championship. Pontus Tidemand – after two days of thrilling racing in terrible heat – proved he’s got both and drove his Fabia Super 2000 for next valuable win. With a total of 147 points he increased his lead in APRC ladder.
As expected, Malaysia had put a lot of heat on contestants. No wonder – in tropical sauna of heat and extreme humidity it’s easy to lose concentration and make a mistake. However that wasn’t the case for our team and they led from day one with a margin of almost minute and half. They performed best at five out of eight special stages and left the rest of teams in a cloud of dust.
“I was prepared that the heat would be close to unbearable, but it was actually even tougher than I expected” said Pontus. “It started pretty okay for us and we had some really good stages, but towards the afternoon it was on the verge of what you can handle. Considering that feeling, we are happy that we could give that little bit extra and just stand the heat long enough to get to the finish on Saturday.”
But extreme conditions put also the race cars to test. All teams did experience it seriously – both Tidemand and second Gaurav Gill had to remove grass from radiators to prevent overheating. And this wasn’t the worst – Gill had some diff problems, Deheragoda suffered from alternator belt failure and Young crashed on Saturday.
Even on Sunday Tidemand and Axelsson gave the best as they quickly set a hot pace and won five SS out of six. After fourteenth (last) special stage they finished first with an almost two minutes lead before second Gill and therefor increasing their domination over second position in APRC ladder.
“This is the most extreme rally experience I have ever had and I will remember this weekend for the rest of my life” said Pontus with a smile. “But the fact that it was so tough makes us treasure our win even more and it is a nice feeling to know that you are capable of more than you think. I am very satisfied with my own and Emil’s performance, but also very impressed by the other participants and the teams that work so hard in the heat. Now I really look forward to the last two APRC rounds!”
Sunday night – right after the ceremonial finished – crews packed rally cars for transportation to next round – rally Hokkaido – taking place eighteenth to twentieth September.
APRC results after rally Malaysia
- Tidemand/Axelsson (SWE/SWE), ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000: 147 points
- Gill/Macneall (IND/AUS), ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000: 104 points
- Leyraud/Beckwith (FRA/AUS), ŠKODA Fabia Super 2000: 56 points
- Young/Read (NZL/NZL), Subaru WRX STI: 56 points
- Aksa/Arena (ID/ITA), Mitsubishi Lancer EVO X: 43 points