Tidemand: "We progressed a lot"
Sweden's Pontus Tidemand became the latest winner of the FIA's championship for young drivers when he took victory at Rallye de France at the weekend.
It was the third win of the season for the 22-year old, and gives him an unassailable lead in the standings ahead of the final round next month in Spain.
Likened to a young Marcus Gronholm by his co-driver Ola Floene, Tidemand joins a prestigious group of past Junior WRC graduates that includes Dani Sordo (2005), Elfyn Evans (2012) and World Rally Champions Sebastien Loeb, (2001 FIA Junior World Rally Champion) and Sebastien Ogier (2008 JWRC Champion).
Here’s what Tidemand had to say after securing the title:
Q: Congratulations Pontus, the new Junior WRC Champion. How are you feeling?
PT: “We feel very good especially as the other drivers in the category are pushing hard. We worked a lot and my co-driver, Ola, did a fantastic job. We progressed a lot this season and we have a lot of people helping us. To win makes everybody happy and it’s good for next season.”
Q: The conditions on the rally were really tough. How did you manage?
PT: “We had a complete clean run with no problems and no mistakes. Our rivals went off the road or had punctures so we were not very pressured. Suddenly we were in the lead and we didn’t need to take any risk. Really, a clean rally for us.”
Q: Were there a few nerves going into Sunday’s final stage?
PT: “It’s the problem! When you have time to think is when you start to make mistakes! But we did a good job on the recce and we knew the tricky portions and also we had good confidence in the pace notes and in the car and in the tyres! We just enjoyed the driving.”
Q: We saw you switch from the FIA WRC Academy to the Junior WRC. What have you learned from your time in both the Championships?
PT: “A lot, and we made big progress. In our class, to win you don’t need to be only the fastest but you must think about the car, the strategy, the points. Every stage is like a Power Stage for us because we get stage points for every stage. We learned how to drive a Championship!”