APRC: Tidemand, Skoda take China win with new R5


12106854_1156139571082683_1926151865724160401_nPontus Tidemand backed up his WRC2 win with a superb performance at the APRC Rally China, held in very wet conditions. It was also a great debut for the new Skoda FabiaR5

From PR materials

Given the atrocious conditions Pontus Tidemand couldn’t exactly cruise to victory, but after team-mate Gaurav Gill crashed out early on Day 1, the event was a lot easier for the Swedish driver.

Debuting the new MRF Skoda Fabia R5 and his first time in China, Tidemand and co-driver Axelsson drove to victory in their MRF ŠKODA Fabia R5 on approximately 230 kilometres of muddy gravel tracks and slippery concrete roads, made worse by 3 days of continuous rain. China Rally was Tidemand’s 5th APRC victory of the year and followed a win the previous weekend in WRC2 at Rally Spain.

Japan’s Hitoshi Takayma moved his Group N Subaru from third to second on the morning of Day 2 after Richard Mason retired his Wan Yu Rally Team Mitsubishi. Takayama drove well considering his limited international experience and the treacherous roads. The Japanese driver Takayama had a scare on the final afternoon when he got a puncture, losing nine minutes in the afternoon’s first and long stage

Another podium for Mike Young but possibly his toughest of the year after his Cusco EZY Racing Subaru had steering pump problems from Stage 2, requiring a super human effort to wrestle the car home. It didn’t come without incident though, rolling on Stage 7 when the car wouldn’t turn for a fast right-hand bend, the Subaru finally arriving at the finishline looking very battered and bruised. Youngs efforts were rewarded by moving into second place in the overall driver championship and winning the FIA Production Cup.

Sri Lankan driver Dinesh Deheragoda failed to finish when his Mitsubishi developed diff problems on Day 1. Gauarv Gill’s co-driver Glenn Maceall suffered a broken collar in the crash, but was sufficently recovered to accept third prize in the Wuerth Cup on behalf of Gill, at the finish.

Provisional Final Classification
1. Pontus Tidemand(S) Emil Axelsson (S) 03:08:46.4
2. Hitoshi Takayama(J) Hideki TakeYabu(J) +:33:26.7
3. Michael Young(NZ) Malcolm Read(NZ) +16:03.6