Pontus Tidemand will fight to maintain his lead at the sharp end of the WRC 2 series standings at this week’s Rally Italia Sardegna (8 – 11 October).
The Swede, entered in his usual Skoda Fabia Rally2, has two victories to his name in 2020 and snatched the championship lead with an impressive win last month in Turkey.
However, he’ll face tough competition from Mads Østberg, who is just five points behind as the season hits fever pitch. With two rallies to go, Østberg is in a very good position, despite starting one rally less than his rival.
The Norwegian has already guided his Citroën C3 R5 to three wins from three starts this year. Another triumph in Sardinia would see him take back the championship lead.
M-Sport Ford star Adrien Fourmaux also starts the event in his Fiesta R5. The Frenchman showed blistering pace during Rally Turkey’s opening day but was denied victory after a puncture. Just nine points separate him and Østberg.
“Although I’ve only contested Rally Italia Sardegna once before, I’m looking forward to the challenge and hope to be able to push for the top results once again,” Fourmaux explained.
Hyundai man Nikolay Gryazin sits fourth in the championship. He also gave Rally Turkey a miss, but is ready for whatever Sardinia throws at him.
“We will face a slightly different autumn setting this year and we don’t know what the weather conditions could be compared to the intense heat we’re used to in Sardinia. Last year, we had some bad luck on the second day, so our initial target is to improve on that performance,” explained the Russian.
Team-mate Ole Christian Veiby also starts in a similar i20, with plans to push hard to make up for a retirement in Estonia.
“Rally Italia Sardegna is an event I know well, and where we have scored some good results in the past. We want to help the team to win the manufacturers’ championship, but to do that we need to aim for victory and get a good result for both cars,” he said.
Eyvind Brynildsen rounds out the WRC 2 field in his Skoda. The Norwegian was another man to have his victory hopes thwarted by punctures last time out. He’ll be keen to put the bad luck behind him on smoother terrain here in Sardinia.