Saturday | 13 Feb 2016

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.

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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