› Works driver Pontus Tidemand and co-driver Jonas Andersson in action at one of the most difficult rounds of the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2)
› Competitors faced with 370 kilometres of special stages and altitudes of up to 2737 metres
› Michal Hrabánek: “This is an extraordinary test for man and machine.”
Mladá Boleslav, 6 March 2017 – Following a perfect start to the season, with two wins from two races, ŠKODA Motorsport now takes on the ultimate test in the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC 2). Works driver Pontus Tidemand (S) and his co-driver Jonas Andersson (S) will tackle a good 370 kilometres against the clock at the Rally Mexico, which takes place from Thursday to Sunday. From the spectacular opening in the capital Mexico City, the competitors climb to 2737 metres above sea level and the highest point in this year’s World Rally Championship.
“The Rally Mexico is an extraordinary test for man and machine. However, we are determined to master this new challenge,” said ŠKODA Motorsport Director Michal Hrabánek. “At the Rally Sweden, Pontus Tidemand and Jonas Andersson had to cope with snow and ice, and claimed a dominant victory. The task is now to produce top performances in the heat and at high altitude in some sections of the route. The driving duo and the team will have to be fully focussed at all times,” Hrabánek added.
The action kicks off on Thursday with a genuine highlight in the heart of Mexico City. Tidemand, at the wheel of his ŠKODA FABIA R5, will be out to thrill the tens of thousands of fans at Zócalo square. The competitors must then tackle the famous “El Chocolate” stage twice on Friday. At 54.90 kilometres, this is one of the longest stages of the season. The drivers will also take a trip underground on the Friday, as the route heads through the old mining tunnels in Guanajuato. Generally speaking, the rough gravel roads put particular strain on both the tyres and the engine – after all, the route climbs as high as 2737 metres above sea level, where the thin air robs engines of up to 20 per cent of their power.
“The Rally Mexico is very special, and will really put us through our paces,” said Tidemand. “I am really looking forward to the many fans and varied routes. We have made a great start to our world championship campaign, and obviously want to challenge for the win in Mexico too,” Tidemand continued. Sweden’s Motorsport Athlete of the Year 2016 is tied with Andreas Mikkelsen (N) at the top of the WRC 2 standings. The Norwegian won the opening round of the season, the Rally Monte Carlo – also at the wheel of a ŠKODA FABIA R5. Starting last season, the high-tech four-wheel drive powerhouse from the Czech Republic has now won twelve of the last 13 WRC 2 rallies. Hopes are high that the next chapter in this spectacular success story will be added at the Rally Mexico.