Rally Italia Sardegna: ŠKODA privateer Pontus Tidemand wins WRC2 and extends overall lead

› Swedish crew of Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Patrik Barth (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) tops category standings at FIA World Rally Championship’s sixth round
› Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL) brings his ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo home in second place in WRC3 and keeps title hopes alive with two more rallies to go
› ŠKODA Motorsport supported Oliver Solberg (SWE) and co-driver Aaron Johnston (IRL) finish sixth in WRC3 after re-start for final leg

Alghero, 11 October 2020 – Pontus Tidemand (SWE) made a big step towards his second WRC2 title. Driving a privately entered ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, the 2017 champion and co-driver Patrik Barth (SWE) won the WRC2 category at Rally Italia Sardegna (9-11 October 2020). With two rounds of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship left, Tidemand leads the overall standings by 18 points. In WRC3, Polish ŠKODA privateer Kajetan Kajetanowicz consolidated third overall position with second in category. ŠKODA Motorsport supported Oliver Solberg (SWE) and co-driver Aaron Johnston (IRL) finished sixth in WRC3 after a re-start for the final leg.

With a strategically clever drive Pontus Tidemand secured his third WR2 victory of the season. He took the category lead during leg one, when early leader Adrien Fourmaux (Ford) suffered a puncture. Never putting a foot wrong in the Toksport WRT entered ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, Tidemand managed the lead until the finish after 16 stages totalling 238.84 kilometres. “I’m very happy winning WRC2 on my Rally Italia Sardegna debut,” he said. “It wasn’t easy being first of the category on the road for the whole rally. We had a safe strategy and followed it strictly. So for the championship, this result is very good.“ The WRC2 champion from 2017 extended his WRC2 overall lead to 18 points from Mads Østberg (Citroën). Competing in the second Toksport WRT ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, the Norwegian-Austrian mixed-team of Eyvind Brynildsen/Ilka Minor finished a fine third in WRC2.

Despite competing in the Rally Italia Sardegna for the first time, ŠKODA Motorsport supported Oliver Solberg (SWE) led the WRC3 category for the most part of two days. His hopes for victory disappeared, when he put his ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo into a ditch during the second leg’s last stage. After a re-start on Sunday, the 19 years old Swede and co-driver Aaron Johnston (IRL) finally came sixth in WRC3. Four steps higher finished Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maceij Szczepaniak. The ŠKODA privateers from Poland even had the category win in sight. But a puncture during the rally’s penultimate stage cost them over a minute.  

“Congratulations to Pontus and Patrik for their WRC2 victory. Now Pontus is in a very good position to win the WRC2 title as well. Oliver and Aaron were quite unlucky indeed. However, they are still very young and can learn a lot from a situation like this. Nevertheless, they impressively showed their speed,” ŠKODA Motorsport team manager Pavel Hortek commented.

Next round of the FIA World Rally Championship is scheduled for 19-22 November. Host will be the picturesque Belgian town of Ypres.

Final result Rally Italia Sardegna (WRC2)

1.     Tidemand/Barth (SWE/SWE), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 2:51.58.4 hrs.
2.     Veiby/Andersson (NOR/SWE), Hyundai i20 Rally2, +28.8 sec.
3.     Brynildsen/Minor (NOR/AUT), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +49.7 sec.
4.     Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, +2:08.3 min.

Championship Standings WRC2 (after 6 of 8 rounds)

1.     Pontus Tidemand (SWE), ŠKODA, 105 points
2.     Mads Østberg (NOR), Citroën, 87 points
3.     Adrien Fourmaux (FRA), Ford, 66 points

Final result Rally Italia Sardegna (WRC3)

1.     Huttunen/Lukka (FIN/FIN), Hyundai i20 Rally2, 2:50:19.2 hrs.
2.     Kajetanowicz/Szczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +1:21.2 min.
3.     Bulacia Wilkinson/Der Ohannesian(BOL/ARG), Citroën C3 Rally2, +2:07.5 min.
4.     Scandola/D’Amore (ITA/ITA), Hyundai i20 Rally2, +5:45.3 min.
5.     Heller/Marti (CHL/ESP), Ford Fiesta Mk II Rally2, +9:36.3 min.
6.     Solberg/Johnston (SWE/IRL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +10:15.0 min.

Championship Standings WRC3 (after 6 of 8 rounds)

1.     Marco Bulacia Wilkinson (BOL), Citroën, 70 points
2.     Jari Huttunen (FIN), Hyundai, 68 points
3.     Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL), ŠKODA, 55 points
4.     Oliver Solberg (SWE), ŠKODA, 43 points

Number of the day: 0                                   
In rough rallies, cleverness often is the best solution. Pontus Tidemand/Patrik Barth (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) didn’t need to score a single WRC2 stage win to take the category victory.   

The calendar of the 2020 FIA World Rally Championship

Monte-Carlo 23/01/–26/01/2020
Sweden 13/02/–16/02/2020
Mexico 12/03/–15/03/2020
Estonia 04/09/–06/09/2020
Turkey 18/09/–20/09/2020
Italy 08/10/–11/10/2020
Belgium 19/11/–22/11/2020
Monza/Italy  04/12/–06/12/2020

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