Pontus Tidemand has signed a contract to join Skoda Motorsport, it has been announced.

Tidemand, who won the Junior WRC title in 2013, will now drive a Skoda in the FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, making his debut with the works squad at the opening round in New Zealand next month.

"I am looking forward to this new challenge," said Tidemand. "I am proud that my name is now on the list of Skoda drivers - one of the most successful manufacturers in rallying."

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Skoda boss Michal Hrabanek added: "Our team already boasts the Asia-Pacific champion Jan Kopecky and European champion Esapekka Lappi, who have performed impressively in recent years. To ensure we are even better positioned to succeed in the future, we have now added another very talented duo, in the form of Pontus Tidemand and [his co-driver] Emil Axelsson.

"We firmly believe in the extraordinary qualities of Pontus and Emil," Hrabanek continued. "We plan to have our team running the new Skoda Fabia R 5 in the APRC by the end of the year - after all, the season finale takes place in our most important market, China."

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I think it's purely financial.
He's on a reasonably salary now rather than scratching around for sponsors.
Once he has proved his speed with a max of 2 seasons he will be looking to get back into the WRC either thru the VW connection or Toyota.

gareth james:
DafyddLarcombe: I am not sure if this was the smartest move, obviously the new R5 Car is coming but surely being in the WRC is crucial at this point in Tidemands career.

Winning the R5 or WRC2 Category in the WRC would be a lot better for his career and then stepping up into the main WRC category would be the plan for him

Just look at what has happened to Esapekka Lappi being away from the WRC and doing the ERC for Skoda, and the ERC is closer to the WRC for Teams taking notice as it is obviously Europe based.

He runs the risk of disappearing from the minds of the WRC Team Managers doing the APC, disappointing if I am honest.[\blockquote][\blockquote]

DafyddLarcombe: I am not sure if this was the smartest move, obviously the new R5 Car is coming but surely being in the WRC is crucial at this point in Tidemands career.

Winning the R5 or WRC2 Category in the WRC would be a lot better for his career and then stepping up into the main WRC category would be the plan for him

Just look at what has happened to Esapekka Lappi being away from the WRC and doing the ERC for Skoda, and the ERC is closer to the WRC for Teams taking notice as it is obviously Europe based.

He runs the risk of disappearing from the minds of the WRC Team Managers doing the APC, disappointing if I am honest.[\blockquote]