Rally Italia Sardegna: Swedish ŠKODA privateer Pontus Tidemand maintains WRC2 lead

› After the second leg, former WRC2 champion Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Patrik Barth (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo) from Sweden top the category with more than one minute
› Title contender Kajetan Kajetanowicz (POL) advanced to second in WRC3, powering his privately entered ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo to two category stage wins on the way
› ŠKODA Motorsport supported Oliver Solberg (SWE) and co-driver Aaron Johnston (IRL) had to retire from WRC3 lead

Alghero, 10 October 2020 – Mixed fortunes for the top ŠKODA crews during the second leg of Rally Italia Sardegna (9-11 October 2020), sixth round of the FIA World Rally Championship. Driving a privately entered ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, Pontus Tidemand/Patrik Barth (SWE/SWE) managed to extend the lead in category WRC2. Meanwhile, ŠKODA Motorsport supported Oliver Solberg (SWE) and co-driver Aaron Johnston (IRL) had to retire during the day’s last stage. Polish driver Kajetan Kajetanowicz in another private ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo climbed to second in WRC3, while ŠKODA privateer Eyvind Brynildsen (NOR) holds the same position in WRC2.

WRC2 leader Pontus Tidemand experienced a problem free morning loop in his privately entered ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo. The pressure of second placed Adrien Fourmaux (Ford) vanished in stage 9, when the Frenchman stopped. From there on Tidemand and co-driver Patrik Barth could take it easier. The Swedish pairing reached the day’s finish with a category lead of more than a minute from another ŠKODA private team, Eyvind Brynildsen from Norway and Austrian co-driver Ilka Minor. “Everything went well today, no dramas,” Tidemand said. “But a puncture could quickly ruin everything. So I need to stay cool for the remaining four stages on Sunday.” A WRC2 win in Italy would mean a big step towards the second category title for Tidemand since 2017.

Overnight WRC3 leader Oliver Solberg started leg 2 in style, posting another fastest WRC3 time on the day’s first test. But two stages later, bad luck struck the 19 years old Swede. “I had everything under control and took it very easy. All of a sudden the tyre delaminated,” he explained his time loss of nearly a minute, dropping him to category third. It took Solberg only two stages to capture back the WRC3 lead. But it was to no avail. During the last stage of the day, the No. 32 ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo got stuck in a ditch after hitting a compression under braking. Without spectators nearby for help, Solberg und Johnston had to call it a day. After the stage was opened for recovery vehicles, he was towed out of the ditch and could drive back to the service park in Alghero, where his ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo was prepared for the re-start on Sunday.

Oliver Solberg’s bad luck in WRC3 meant progression for Kajetan Kajetanowicz and co-driver Maciej Sczcepaniak from Poland. Albeit winning two stages during the day, they kept their privately entered ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo out of trouble. Holding second position in the category, Kajetanowicz keeps his hopes for the WRC3 title alive. The same position in WRC2 is occupied by the Norwegian-Austrian mixed team of Eyvind Brynildsen/Ilka Minor (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo).

Rally Italia Sardegna’s final leg on Sunday consists of four more stages totalling 41.90 kilometres. The podium ceremony is scheduled for 3:00 pm close to the service park in Alghero.

Standings Rally Italia Sardegna after Day 2 (WRC2)
1.     Tidemand/Barth (SWE/SWE), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, 2:22:23.6 hrs.
2.     Brynildsen/Minor (NOR/AUT), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +1:03.9 min.
3.     Veiby/Andersson (NOR/SWE), Hyundai i20 Rally2, +1:04.03 min.
4.     Østberg/Eriksen (NOR/NOR), Citroën C3 Rally2, +5:02.5 min.
5.     Gryazin/Aleksandrov (RUS/RUS), Hyundai i20 Rally2, +23:23.0 min.

Standings Rally Italia Sardegna after Day 2 (WRC3)
1.     Huttunen/Lukka (FIN/FIN), Hyundai i20 Rally2, 2:21:34.2 hrs.
2.      Kajetan Kajetanowicz/Maciej Szczepaniak (POL/POL), ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo, +10.5 sec.
3.     Bulacia Wilkinson/Der Ohannesian(BOL/ARG), Citroën C3 Rally2, +1:57.6 min.
4.     Scandola/D’Amore (ITA/ITA), Hyundai i20 Rally2, +3:09.7 min.
5.     Johnston/Kihurani (USA/USA), Citroën C3 Rally2, +5:36.6 min.

Number of the day: 18.2                               
During the second leg, the competition could never get closer than 18.2 seconds to WRC2 leaders Pontus Tidemand/Patrik Barth (ŠKODA FABIA Rally2 evo).

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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Related Press Releases Based on tags: 2020, Barth, FABIA, Johnston, Kajetanowicz, Rally Italy, Rally2 evo, Solberg, Szczepaniak, Tidemand, WRC 2, WRC 3