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Evans fends off resurgent
Tidemand in Sweden WRC 2

Elfyn Evans retained the initiative in WRC 2 at Rally Sweden on Saturday despite a strong recovery from Pontus Tidemand that warmed the hearts of the home fans.

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The Welshman overcame an afternoon steering problem to end the penultimate leg of this second round of the FIA World Rally Championship with a 17.9sec lead.

Evans won the opening special stage in the snowy forests near Hagfors in his Ford Fiesta R5. But Tidemand (pictured below), who lost time yesterday with a broken driveshaft, claimed two wins and two second places in his Skoda Fabia R5 to reduce the deficit from 42.5sec.

“Pontus has driven really well today, but we’ve had a few little issues so if everything goes to plan we should have a big enough margin going into tomorrow’s final stage,” said Evans.

“We had a problem with the steering. I wasn’t sure what it was at the time but there was a strange feeling in the car and we lost some seconds. We managed to find the problem and make a temporary fix on the road section, but I wasn’t feeling 100 per cent comfortable with the way the car was driving after that.”

Anders Grøndal overcame illness to hold third in a Fiesta R5, but Finland’s Esapekka Lappi was closing fast in a Fabia R5 after winning two stages. The gap between the pair was 8.7sec.

Eyvind Brynildsen’s Fiesta R5 was fifth with Emil Bergqvist completing the top six in a DS 3 R5, the duo split by 9.7sec.

Fredrik Åhlin was the most disappointed driver. The Norwegian ceded a minute with a puncture in the opening stage but recovered to third, only for his day to end prematurely when he ripped a wheel from his Fiesta R5 in the penultimate test.

Other retirements included Hubert Ptaszek with damaged suspension and Max Rendina with mechanical problems.

Head to WRC+ to see the latest onboard and video reports from Rally Sweden

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