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ŠKODA works duo Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson go in search of victory at their home round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) with the distinction of being named Sweden’s motorsport athlete of the year.

The duo will be out to continue ŠKODA’s successful start to the 2017 rally year when they line up in a new-look ŠKODA FABIA R5 at the Rally Sweden from Thursday to Sunday. Andreas Mikkelsen and Jan Kopecký presented the works team with a one-two in the ŠKODA FABIA R5 at the iconic Rallye Monte Carlo.

Teemu Suninen / Mikko Markkula, ŠKODA FABIA R5, Team Oreca. Rally Sweden 2016

Among those in action in Sweden will be Finland’s Teemu Suninen, who finished second overall in the WRC2 last year at the wheel of a private ŠKODA FABIA R5. The runner-up in last year’s European Rally Championship, Alexey Lukyanuk, will also be among those to look out for. However, ŠKODA’s main hope, Tidemand, is not worried.

The Rally Sweden will also witness a first: the works team’s ŠKODA FABIA R5 will sport the new 2017 livery for the first time. The green, white and black design has been made even more attractive.

 

Being voted Sweden’s motorsport athletes of the year will have given Tidemand and Andersson even more confidence. The ŠKODA duo were recognised at a celebratory gala at the end of January. After an outing in suits, they are now back in their trusty racing overalls. The only true winter rally on the WRC calendar features a good 330 kilometres of competitive distance, spread over 18 special stages, often in icy temperatures. Spikes on the tyres help to provide as much grip as possible on the slippery surfaces. Tidemand / Andersson cope well with these complicated conditions: despite two punctures, they impressed en route to eleventh place overall at the recent Rallye Monte Carlo.

 

 

The statistics speak in favour of the successful ŠKODA FABIA R5: eleven of the last twelve rallies in the WRC2 championship have been won by the high-tech four-wheel drive powerhouse from the Czech Republic. The ŠKODA Motorsport works team also won the world title in the WRC2 Drivers’ and Co-Drivers’ Championship for the first time in 2016, courtesy of Esapekka Lappi / Janne Ferm. Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson have their sights set firmly on repeating this success for ŠKODA.

Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Motorsport. Rally Sweden 2016

Did you know that…

…a total of six ŠKODA FABIA R5s will start at the 2017 Rally Sweden?

As well as ŠKODA works driver Pontus Tidemand, another five drivers will be in action at the wheel of the FABIA R5: Henning Solberg, Ole Christian Veiby, Kjell Sandberg, Jukka Ketomäki and Federico Della Casa.

 

…the Rally Sweden was initially held in the summer?

The inaugural rally in 1950 was known as the “Rally of the Midnight Sun”. Since 1965, the rally has regularly been held in the winter. It was included in the FIA World Rally Championship in 1973, since when the Rally Sweden has been virtually a permanent fixture in the world championship. The only exceptions: it was cancelled due to the oil crisis in 1974 and due to adverse weather in 1990. It did not feature on the WRC calendar in 2009, as a result of the FIA’s rotation system.

 

…the “Sweden Spikes” provide more grip on ice and snow than gravel tyres do on standard gravel?

Every tyre is equipped with 380 steel studs, each of which is 20 millimetres long and weighs four grams.

 

…the Rally Sweden is a real home event for the drivers from Nordic countries?

In 64 previous editions, the only rally on the WRC calendar that is always held on ice and snow has been won by drivers from Sweden, Norway or Finland on all but four occasions. Sébastien Loeb won in 2004, while Sébastien Ogier was victorious in 2013, 2015 and 2016.

…the organisers of the Rally Sweden present the “Colin’s Crest Award” for the longest jump over a crest on the Vargåsen stage, in memory of Colin McRae?

Previous winners since 2008: Khalid Al Qassimi (UAE, 36 Meter), Marius Aasen (N, 37 m), Ken Block (USA, 37 m), Ott Tänak (EST, 32 m), Thierry Neuville (B, 35 m), Juho Hänninen (FIN, 36 m), Thierry Neuville (B, 44 m) and record holder Eyvind Brynildsen (N, 45 m).

 

…a snow shovel must be carried in every rally car?

They are on board in case the car should require digging out of the snow if it strays from the road.

 

…last year’s Rally Sweden was the shortest WRC rally ever?

Mild, spring temperatures meant the organisers were ultimately only able to stage twelve of the 21 scheduled special stages. The rally route was reduced from 331.21 to 226.48 kilometres of competitive distance.

 

…drivers can only score points in the WRC2 championship if they are officially registered in this championship?

Each driver can score points towards the overall WRC2 standings at seven selected rallies, with the best six results counting. ŠKODA drivers Andreas Mikkelsen and Jan Kopecký currently top the WRC2 standings thanks to their one-two at the Rallye Monte Carlo.