Rally Argentina: Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson controlling the lead in their ŠKODA FABIA

› ŠKODA factory team scores WRC 2 win on every single stage during opening leg
› Strongest competitor, ŠKODA privateer Hubert Ptaszek, went off the road, will restart
› Pontus Tidemand stresses: “We must keep focussed to avoid any silly mistakes.”
› ŠKODA Motorsport director Michal Hrabánek: “It’s still a long way to go.”

Villa Carlos Paz/Argentina, 29 April 2017 – Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Jonas Andersson (ŠKODA FABIA R5) currently have everything under control at Rally Argentina. The two Swedes were the fastest WRC 2 team on every single special stage on Friday, holding a dominant category lead of more than four and a half minutes. On Saturday, the longest day of the rally is waiting for the Swedish pairing.

After the spectacular and crowd-pleasing “super stage” in downtown Cordoba, the rally (based in the lakeside resort of Villa Carlos Paz 700 km north-west of Buenos Aires), headed on Friday to the south of Cordoba to the Santa Rosa Region for two loops of fast and sandy tracks. Having done the recce (where the teams check the stages and prepare their pace notes) in heavy rain and muddy conditions, on Friday the six stages were entirely dry. On some places even rocks came out of the ground, making the passage really tough for the rally cars.

Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson (SWE/SWE) immediately found the right pace with their ŠKODA FABIA R5 and took the WRC 2 lead without taking any big risks. Only Hubert Ptaszek/Maciek Sczepaniak (POL/POL), running a private ŠKODA FABIA R5, were able to follow the speed of the factory team from Sweden. But in the fourth stage they went off the road and had to retire for the day. After repairing the car, the privateers from Poland plan to rejoin the rally on Saturday under Rally 2 regulations.

“I have to stay focussed. It’s all about finding the right speed and not to lose concentration. The ŠKODA FABIA R5 is simply perfect – it’s absolutely fun to drive, I had no problems at all. A big thanks to my team. But there is still a long, long way to go”, concludes Pontus Tidemand.

On Saturday the teams are heading north-west onto the challenging gravel roads of the Punilla Valley for the longest day of Rally Argentina. Again, the route features two identical loops with three stages each, covering 160 kilometres in total. The weather forecast expects hot and dry conditions.

Rally Argentina (WRC 2) after leg 1

1. Tidemand/Andersson (SWE/SWE) ŠKODA FABIA R5, 1:31:27.7 h
2. Heller/Olmos (CHL/ARG), Ford Fiesta R5, + 4:30.7 min
3. Alonso/Mercadal (ARG/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 5:22.3 min
4. Saba Rodriguez/Mussano (PRY/ARG), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 37:18.5 min
5. Ptaszek/Sczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA R5, + 42:13.7 min
6. Guerra/Cué (MEX/ESP), ŠKODA FABIA R5,  + 43:01.4 min

Number of the day: 9
Fastest WRC 2 competitor on all nine stages of Rally Argentina: So far nobody could beat Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson and their ŠKODA FABIA R5 on the tough gravel roads.

Calendar FIA World Rally Championship 2017 (WRC 2)

Event/ Date
Rally Monte Carlo; 19.01.–22.01.2017
Rally Sweden;  09.02.–12.02.2017
Rally Mexico; 09.03.–12.03.2017
Rally France;  06.04.–09.04.2017
Rally Argentina; 27.04.–30.04.2017
Rally Portugal; 18.05.–21.05.2017
Rally Italy; 08.06.–11.06.2017
Rally Poland; 29.06.–02.07.2017
Rally Finland; 27.07.–30.07.2017
Rally Germany;  17.08.–20.08.2017
Rally Spain;  05.10.–08.10.2017
Rally Great Britain;  26.10.–29.10.2017
Rally Australia; 16.11.–19.11.2017

Additional info