Twenty-nine-year-old Tidemand currently leads the series by 18 points from his Citroën C3 R5 opponent. However, the Skoda Fabia man already has five starts to his name in 2020, meaning he must discard his lowest score after Monza.
Østberg has a score in hand and will therefore hold onto any points he picks up this weekend.
A win for either driver would guarantee the championship victory, so expect to see an unhinged, full-throttle approach from the get-go.
Adding to the excitement, Saturday’s loop in the foothills of the Italian Alps is expected to provide even more surprises, including the possibility of snow and ice.
“In Monza I have no experience. There are some stages in the mountains and I think the conditions could be quite like Monte, so it’s going to be a challenge for everyone,” explained Tidemand.
In a bid to strengthen the Swede’s title tilt, the Toksport team will enter a second Fabia driven by 2018 champion Jan Kopecky. The Czech star is no stranger to asphalt and his presence could prove pivotal in keeping Østberg at bay.
M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally2 youngster Adrien Fourmax will also be one to watch. The Frenchman isn’t directly involved in the title scrap, however, he’ll be gunning for a maiden victory in the category.
Fourmaux’s confidence is elevated following his win at Rally Islas Canarias in Spain last weekend.