Driver / co-driver: Pontus Tidemand and Emil Axelsson.

Press conference

Q:
Your first win in WRC 2, congratulations! It's been a challenging event for every driver, but you managed to take the win on the final stage of the day after battling back after a puncture. What are your feelings and what was that final stage like?

Pontus Tidemand:
The feeling is fantastic! I have been pushing from the very first stage. On the last stage, we were six seconds behind Ott Tanak in the battle for the win. I did absolutely what I could. We had a couple of moments, but it went really well. Emil did a fantastic job coaching me through this rally in a proper and good way so that we managed to finish in a good speed. We had a puncture at Panzerplatte and we lost 1'40", so after that we were more thinking about a second or third place, but then we managed to catch up this morning and then we started to look for a victory, so we decided to push.

Q:
What was the feeling like when you were sitting on the start line for that final stage? Did you think: 'Right, I am going to give it everything, or I am out of it'. Six seconds is hardly anything between you and Ott T?nak, but it must have been the drive of your life?

Pontus Tidemand:
Yes, absolutely. I looked at Ott Tanak before the stage and he was really focused, but so was I. I found myself in a good focus before the stage, so we opened the stage really well and perfect in the driving, I would say, but then in the middle of the stage, there was some more action. I was so focused on the start of the stage...

Emil Axelsson:
I asked before the stage: 'Do you have a good feeling?', and he answered 'Yes', and I said: 'So have I. Let's go for it.'

Q:
Well, you really did go for it! Were you happy with your pace this weekend, because we have seen you battling right at the front of the field in WRC 2 this weekend.

Pontus Tidemand:
Really happy with the pace. It is my first Tarmac rally with a four-wheel drive car and the first with these tyre rules. We knew that we would have mixed conditions, but overall it was more than I expected, so I am really happy.

Q:
Definitely mixed conditions here, how tough were the conditions first thing this morning when there was still some dampness on the stage?

Pontus Tidemand:
Really tough, but for sure good support from M-Sport with the set-up of the car and the tyre choice and everything. M-Sport really has done a fantastic job this week. We could just focus on the driving and try to look out for the tricky places, so quite okay. Well, really okay, actually!

Q:
We have only seen you on a couple of WRC events this year (Portugal and Sweden) - what are the plans for the remainder of the rounds?

Pontus Tidemand:
I really don't know. The next rally is maybe in France, I can't say 100 percent, and I hope I can do Spain. We'll see.

Q:
Emil, you step back into the co-driving seat this weekend to great success! What has it been like this weekend? You have a win under your belt and as you said, you have kept Pontus very honest this weekend, you have been very professional. What has it been like for you?

Emil Axelsson:
It's been great. We have been doing everything we could to be as well prepared as possible for this event. We did training, concentration training, a two-day test, everything has been 100 percent to make sure that we are as well prepared as possible. When you have that feeling, it is quite easy to get into these stages, knowing that you have done everything you can. Also our engineer Chris and all the mechanics at M-Sport have done a fantastic job. Pontus is a skilled driver, I knew that before. It's fantastic, definitely.

Q:
Pontus mentioned a few little moments in that final stage. What can you tell us about what it was like having the drive of your life to score that win?

Emil Axelsson:
He was definitely pushing to go for victory, but you have to take some risks if you want to take it by more than six seconds. We had some problems, there were some slippery patches. Some braking points were not very precise, but we managed to get away from it. We needed a little bit of luck, but luck is also something you deserve and we really deserved it this week. We did a tyre change practice in the shakedown and we managed a quick change at Panzerplatte. It is all about attention to detail.

Q:
You work together in Rallycross as well, you are pretty much the team boss there. Have you been the boss in the car this weekend?

Emil Axelsson:
For sure! No, it is team work.

 

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