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ŠKODA works driver Pontus Tidemand from Sweden has taken an early lead in the WRC2 category on icy routes at his home round of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC). The 26-year-old and his co-driver Jonas Andersson dominated day two of the Rally Sweden, although the majority of Friday’s action took place in neighbouring Norway.

Cheered on by thousands of passionate spectators, talented Norwegian youngster Ole Christian Veiby also impressed in a ŠKODA FABIA R5 run by a private team. Veiby is currently third going into the weekend.

Sweden’s Motorsport Athlete of the Year 2016 was second behind fellow ŠKODA driver Veiby after the opening stage in Karlstad on Thursday evening. The impressive youngster won Friday’s first stage at the wheel of a ŠKODA FABIA R5 before Tidemand upped the tempo to win five of the day’s seven special stages.

Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson, ŠKODA FABIA R5, ŠKODA Motorsport. Rally Sweden 2017

The Swede moved into the lead for the first time courtesy of an outstanding drive on stage four, Svullrya 1. He then proceeded to extend his lead over the course of the afternoon. The highlight of the day was the stage in the dark around the service park in Torsby, where the ŠKODA driver thrilled his compatriots with the fastest time. By the end of the longest day of the Rally Sweden, with 145.65 kilometres of competitive distance, Tidemand had pulled 45.1 seconds clear of the reigning WRC2 vice-champion, Teemu Suninen.

Less than half of the competitive distance have been completed. A good 125 kilometres await Tidemand and Co. on Saturday, spread over seven special stages. The highlight promises to be the Vargåsen stage, which the competitors must tackle twice. It is at this stage that the “Colin’s Crest Award” is presented for the longest jump over a certain crest, in memory of Colin McRae. The record stands at 45 metres and was set by Norway’s Eyvind Brynildsen, who is currently well behind Tidemand in eighth place in the WRC2 standings at the Rally Sweden.

ŠKODA Motorsport claimed a one-two, courtesy of Andreas Mikkelsen and Jan Kopecký, at round one of the world championship, the iconic Rallye Monte Carlo. Pontus Tidemand is on track to back up this opening success at the Rally Sweden.

Rally Sweden 2017 - WRC2 standings after the Day 2:
1. Tidemand / Andersson (S/S) ŠKODA FABIA R5 1:20:48.9 hrs
2. Suninen / Markkula (FIN/FIN) Ford Fiesta R5 + 0:45.1 min
3. Veiby / Skjærmoen (N/N) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 0:58.8 min
4. Camilli / Veillas (F/F) Ford Fiesta R5 + 2:02.8 min
5. Greensmith / Parry (GB/GB) Ford Fiesta R5 + 2:31.3 min

Number of the day: 380

To ensure there is sufficient grip on the frozen surface, every tyre at the Rally Sweden has about 380 spikes. The steel studs are 20 millimetres long and each weighs four grammes. Incidentally, most production cars are also fitted with studded tyres for everyday driving during the cold Swedish winter.