Tidemand, from Sweden, was leading by almost half a minute when a puncture dropped him back on stage five, handing the advantage to local hero Jose Suarez who, like Tidemand, is chasing his first victory in the young driver-training category.
“I am both happy and sad right now,” said Tidemand. “To win five out of six stages was fantastic, but then to lose three minutes with a puncture was such a big disappointment. But we are still in second place, which is good. Jose is over a minute ahead of us now so I think he will be hard to beat tomorrow, but we will try.”
Suarez, who starts the all-asphalt final day with a lead of 1m09.6s, said: “I am very happy with this position, but I am not about to lose my head. Tomorrow is a long day and anything can happen. I am really looking forward to setting some good times on Tarmac, but the main thing will be to make sure that we keep this position.”
After clinching the WRC Academy title on the previous round in France, Elfyn Evans is in third place alongside new co-driver Seb Marshall: “It has been a difficult start. It is a relatively new partnership with myself and Seb so it took us a while to settle into a grove. Unfortunately we also had a puncture on stage three so we found ourselves quite a bit behind.”
Brendan Reeves, who is in a battle with Suarez for the runner-up spot in the final title standings, is fourth endured a tough third stage when he picked up a puncture striking some concrete. He lost more time when, after rejoining, he got stuck behind Suarez for 10 kilometres.
Fredrik Ahlin is fifth despite getting stuck on stage three and being slowed in heavy rain on stage four. John MacCrone and Timo van der Marel both went off on stage five and got stuck. Both drivers hope to restart under Rally 2 rules on Saturday. Polish newcomer Aron Domzala is in eighth position.