Friday | 23 Oct 2015

Tidemand tops WRC 2 leaderboard

Pontus Tidemand dominated WRC 2 to head a Skoda 1-2-3 after Friday’s first full day of action at RallyRACC Catalunya - Costa Daurada in Spain.

He won six of the eight predominantly gravel speed tests in a Fabia R5 to lead Jan Kopecký by 33.7sec. Title-chasing team-mate Esapekka Lappi was third a further 5.7sec behind.

Championship leader Nasser Al-Attiyah led after Thursday evening’s opening street stage in Barcelona. But Tidemand won five consecutive stages today and was almost 45sec ahead before a puncture 3km from the end of the final stage slowed the Swede’s progress.

“We were lucky it didn’t happen earlier in the stage. My times were quick and if Sweden is my favourite rally, then Spain is my next favourite,” said Tidemand.

Kopecký’s aim here is to assist Lappi’s title bid by taking points from Al-Attiyah and he played the role perfectly. Lappi struggled for pace this morning but upped his speed to claim two stage wins. 

Al-Attiyah dropped time with a rear puncture in the penultimate stage and was 64.4sec behind Lappi. The Qatari must overhaul the Finn in the final two days to keep alive his hopes of a second consecutive championship.

Eric Camilli overcame an engine pop-off vale problem to hold fifth in a Ford Fiesta R5, with Quentin Giordano completing the top six in Citroën’s DS 3 RRC.

Of the other title challengers, Yuriy Protasov changed a wheel after hitting a wall and breaking the rim, Jari Ketomaa stopped with broken front suspension and Abdulaziz Al-Kuwari incurred a 10-minute penalty after broken power steering prevented him from starting the Barcelona test.

Teemu Suninen retired his DS 3 from third, Julien Maurin had a torrid day with five punctures, and Craig Breen fell back with damaged suspension and a puncture in his Peugeot 208 T16 R5. 

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