Saturday | 21 May 2016

Tidemand leads WRC 2 despite setback

Pontus Tidemand led WRC 2 at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on Saturday night despite a penultimate stage puncture which wiped out his comfortable advantage.

The Swede has dominated the WRC’s principal support category since Friday morning. But his 90sec lead disappeared when he punctured his Skoda Fabia R5’s rear right tyre shortly after the start of the 26.31km test.
He stopped to change it, handing the initiative to Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs. But Tidemand responded immediately to win the final stage, his second victory of the day, and turn a 2.6sec deficit into a 32.0sec overnight lead.
“I have a margin now and we can keep a safe pace tomorrow,” said Tidemand. “We can increase it if we need to. When we punctured we decided to stop immediately. I didn’t have the right rhythm afterwards and I was scared of the same thing happening again.”
Fuchs yielded second place to championship leader Elfyn Evans this morning but quickly regained it when the Welshman rolled his Ford Fiesta R5 into retirement.
Third was hotly contested between Marius Aasen, Scott Pedder and local hero Miguel Campos. Aasen held a 10.2sec advantage over Pedder, who stormed up from 11th to fourth after losing three minutes yesterday with a puncture. Campos was 7.0sec behind.
Ghislain de Mevius completed the top six but there was disappointment for Quentin Gilbert who exited fourth after stopping in the opening stage.
Two punctures and a broken front diff spoiled the hopes of Poland’s Hubert Ptaszek who had been fifth, while Emil Bergkvist lost a potential top six finish when he stopped after earlier puncturing and then hitting a tree.
Teemu Suninen restarted after retiring early yesterday and took two stage wins.

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