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Back in action on the forthcoming Swedish Rally are the 2017 FIA WRC2 World Rally Champions Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson. For co-driver Jonas, 2017 was his second season with his fellow Swede competing in WRC2, after seven seasons competing with the Norwegian, Mads Ostberg, in World Rally Cars. Jonas was in Britain at the WRC presentation and reflected on their recent success. JA: It’s a great feeling. Of our seven rounds (in the WRC2) we had five wins, one second and one third place. It was a great season.
We did a really good job and the team did a great job as well. We had no technical problems with the car, so everything just came together as it has to be.
You can’t say it was simple because it’s never simple, but we had a great start to the season with a win in Sweden. From then on it went more or less on track. The reason we had such a good season was a combination of things. We did a lot of work behind the scenes before each rally, so we were well prepared for all the rallies. We had good strategies, deciding what approach we should take. I think we had the whole package to get it to work.
Jonas Andersson

Jonas Andersson spoke to Martin Holmes at the WRC launch in January.

MH: With various works supported Skoda drivers aiming for success in WRC2, what gave you the edge? JA: Last season we were the only ones with the full championship more or less. Some other drivers didn’t do the full championship for Skoda. There was no favouritism in that kind of way. Also in the events when there was more than one car there was nothing saying that one had to win and the other one had to be behind. There were no team orders in that way. MH: Who decided which events you should enter and which events the other drivers should do? JA: That was up to the team. Of course we had dialogue with them, but at the end it was the team who decided which events we did, based on the best options for them and for us. MH: This year Skoda will be giving you and Pontus full support in your WRC2 season, but further afield, where does Pontus expect he will go in the future?
JA: Of course we want to step up into WRC, but it’s very, very tricky to get a seat there. You need to get a good seat as well, where you get some time and some room to be really able to do the best.
At the moment it's not so easy, so we’re going to start off again doing events with Skoda and where we go from there. Even Management are still working close together with us as they have done for a couple of years now.
Pontus Tidemand

Pontus Tidemand won WRC2 at Rally Sweden in 2017, driving the Skoda R5. Photos: Holmes

MH: Even Management now has a new driver they are supporting. Ole Christian Veiby who is the son of the company’s proprietor … JA: Of course he is the junior, but he’s a very good guy and talented. He did some great rallies last year, so it will be very interesting to see him again this year.
Also, we are looking forward to see how he compares with our two Finnish Skoda team-mates Kalle Rovenpera and Juuso Nordgren. It will be very interesting to see them in as well.
MH: And talking about new young drivers, I see that there is another new member of Pontus’ Solberg family dynasty. After Oscar (Pontus’ half brother), we now have Oliver (Petter’s son)! JA: The Solberg dynasty is something special. They are a great family, a lot of great people and I really enjoy spending time with all of them. It will be very interesting to see how they all progress. Related news: https://rallysportmag.com/interview-tidemand-is-skodas-focus-for-2018-says-team-boss-hrabanek/ https://rallysportmag.com/pontus-tidemand-starts-new-rally-team/
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