Rally Mexico: Tidemand extends his lead in the ŠKODA FABIA R5

› ŠKODA Motorsport duo Pontus Tidemand/Jonas Andersson successfully conquer iconic El Chocolate stage and the highest point in the world championship
› Two morning stages cancelled at round three of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
› Pontus Tidemand: “We are growing in confidence on the difficult routes in Mexico”

León/Mexico, 11 March 2017 – Pontus Tidemand (S) and Jonas Andersson (S) extended their lead in the ŠKODA FABIA R5 on an eventful day at the Rally Mexico. The successful duo clocked the fastest time on four of the day’s five stages and successfully conquered the highest point in this year’s FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2) on the iconic “El Chocolate” stage. However, the start of the rally action was delayed by almost five hours on day two in Mexico: the two stages scheduled for the morning had to be cancelled after a traffic jam had delayed the rally cars on the way back from the capital Mexico City.

“That was a challenging day for everyone. After waiting so long to get started, I put too much strain on the brakes on the opening stage. Things improved significantly after that. We are growing in confidence on the difficult routes in Mexico,” said Tidemand. The Swedish Motorsport Athlete of the Year 2016 led going into day two of the rally, following two stage wins on the street circuit in the capital Mexico City on Thursday. However, he briefly surrendered the top spot to Frenchman Eric Camilli on the “El Chocolate” stage – at 54.90 kilometres one of the longest on the WRC calendar.
The competitors reached the highest point in the 2017 World Rally Championship at almost 2750 metres above sea level, where the engines were forced to work extra hard in the thin air.

The ŠKODA FABIA R5 passed this particularly tough test with flying colours, and 26-year-old Tidemand immediately regained the lead in WRC 2 with a dominant stage win. From the high mountains, the WRC caravan headed straight underground in Guanajuato. The route took the drivers through tunnels left from former silver mines. They were then faced with two runs in the “Autódromo de León” at the end of an extremely varied day of rallying. Here too, ŠKODA driver Tidemand was the fastest man. He eventually ended the day with a 35.4-second lead over second-placed Camilli. Mexican Benito Guerra is also on course for a podium finish in third place. Like Tidemand, the local favourite is at the wheel of a ŠKODA FABIA R5.

“I expect a big battle for the win. We have to be quick on the rough gravel roads, but at the same time drive in a controlled manner if we are going to have a chance,” said Tidemand, looking ahead. Over 210 kilometres of special stage are scheduled for Saturday and Sunday. Only then will we know who will succeed last year’s WRC 2 winner Teemu Suninen. The Finn won the 2016 Rally Mexico in a ŠKODA FABIA R5.

Rally Mexico standings (WRC 2):

1. Tidemand/Andersson (S/S) ŠKODA FABIA R5 1:04:58.1 hrs
2. Camilli/Veillas (F/F) Ford Fiesta R5 + 0:35.4 min
3. Guerra/Rozada (MEX/E) ŠKODA FABIA R5 + 1:07.2 min

Number of the day: 74.58
74.58 kilometres of special stage originally planned for Friday had to be cancelled. A traffic jam resulted in the rally cars being too late leaving Mexico City to return to the service park in Léon, the first two runs of the iconic “El Chocolate” and “Las Minas” stages had to be scrapped in the morning. This brought the total number of kilometres against the clock at the Rally Mexico down to under 300.

The 2017 calendar for the FIA World Rally Championship (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