Picture caption: Pontus Tidemand blasting his way to victory in the Rally Hokkaido, the fifth
and penultimate round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, in Obihiro,
The Swedish pair of Pontus
Tidemand and his co-driver Emil Axelsson expectedly clinched the title to lead
a clean sweep by Team MRF in the Rally Hokkaido, the fifth and penultimate
round of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship in Obihiro, Japan on September
While Tidemand and Axelsson,
with 186 points, sealed the APRC and the Pacific Cup driver’s and co-driver’s
titles with four wins in five rounds, MRF clinched the team championship with
their car partners Skoda Fabia taking home the manufacturer’s crown.
Tidemand, driving the Race
Torque-prepared Skoda S2000, destroyed the APRC field to win by 12 minutes over
New Zealand’s Michael Young (Malcolm Read) of Cusco Racing while Japanese pair
of Hitoshi Takayama and Hideki Takeyabu of Immens Motorsport, finished third,
some 15 minutes behind the winners.
In his moment of glory,
24-year old Tidemand, making his APRC debut, had a word of commiseration for
his Indian team-mate Gaurav Gill who retired from the event on the previous day
due to mechanical problems.
“It would have been great had
Gill been around to fight with it. It was unfortunate that he had to retire,
but that is motorsport. However, I am extremely happy to win the championship
on debut and I would like to thank the team members, MRF Tyres and others who
have been part of my success.
Picture caption: Pontus
Tidemand (right) and co-driver Emil Axelsson of Team MRF celebrate their
victory in Rally Hokkaido, the fifth and penultimate round of the FIA Asia
Pacific Rally Championship, in Obihiro, Japan
“When I decided to race in the
APRC, I did not know anything about the conditions or the competition, but I
enjoyed all the rallies though I would have liked the fight with Gill to extend
to the last round in China. I am also extremely happy with the tyres that MRF
have supplied. I think, we had just two punctures through the season, but that
too because we hit some rocks,” said Tidemand.
Enjoying an overnight lead of
over four minutes, Tidemand maintained his flow and rhythm through the 10
Special Stages run on Sunday, attacking the corners and never easing off.
“That was the only way I could
keep my concentration, although my target was to finish the event safely,” said
Tidemand. The sixth and concluding round of the 2015 Asia Pacific Rally
Championship will be held in China from October 30 to November 1.
Pontus Tidemand / Emil
Axelsson (Team MRF, Skoda Fabia S2000) 1 (02hrs, 24mins, 49.5secs); Michael
Young / Malcolm Read (Cusco Racing, Subaru Impreza WRX STi) 2 (02:36:25.1);
Hitoshi Takayama / Hideki Takeyabu (Immens Motorsport, Subaru Impreza WRX STi)