Friday | 20 May 2016

Tidemand takes charge of WRC 2 in Portugal

Pontus Tidemand dominated WRC 2 at Vodafone Rally de Portugal on Friday to build a strong lead in his Skoda Fabia R5.

The Swede led after last night’s short curtain-raising test and stamped his authority on this fifth round in this morning’s opening special stage. He was fastest by more than 16sec to create an advantage that he stretched to 35.5sec by the end of the day.
Tidemand won five of the seven completed stages to head Peru’s Nicolas Fuchs in a similar Fabia, with championship leader Elfyn Evans a further 17.5sec back after a troubled day in his Ford Fiesta R5. The Welshman struggled for power this morning and a broken anti-roll bar in the afternoon further hampered his challenge.
Frenchman Quentin Gilbert was fourth in Citroën’s DS 3 R5, with Hubert Ptaszek and Marius Aasen completing the top six.
The rough gravel roads took a heavy toll, and expected frontrunner Teemu Suninen was sidelined just a few metres after the start of today’s opening stage with broken suspension in his Fiesta R5.
Scott Pedder was Tidemand’s closest pursuer initially until a puncture cost three minutes, while two flat tyres brought Jan Kopecky’s day to an early end as the Czech driver was carrying only one spare wheel.
Julien Maurin’s challenge faded when the Frenchman dropped five minutes after spinning and he could not restart his Fabia R5 after an impact flattened the exhaust. Turbo problems added to his woes, while Augusto Bestard fell back with a broken rear suspension arm.
Jose Suarez dropped several minutes after rolling and Emil Bergkvist lost time after being caught in the dust of the Spaniard after he regained the road.

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