A quartet of Swedes are involved in podium fights when the 2012 WRC season comes to a draw in Spain. Co-driver Jonas Andersson is fighting for a third position in WRC together with Mads Østberg, P-G Andersson and Emil Axelsson are going for gold in SWRC and Pontus Tidemand has a chance at the silver in WRC Academy.
The Spanish WRC rally, Catalunya Rally, opens Thursday night with a ceremonial start in Barcelona. After that, 18 stages mixig gravel and tarmac awaits for three intense days.
Starting the rally, P-G Andersson is in second position in SWRC in his Proton Satria Neo S2000. The distance to leading Irishman Craig Breen is only two points.
Whoever finishes ahead of the other, of the tow of them, can most likely call himself World Champion, even though Yazeed Al Rajhi in third place has a small chance at the title.
– Our only thought is to take the gold by winning the rally and we will be attacking as hard as we can. This will be a very exciting rally indeed, says Andersson.
P-G has not competed in Spain since the organisers chose to combine tarmac and gravel, but he has good memories from previous starts in the rally.
– Amongs other things I won the JWRC here in 2007, he remembers.
Both P-G and Proton have previous experiences of winning a WRC gold medal. P-G is double JWRC champion and Proton won the PWRC with Karamjit Singh in 2002.
Should P-G win the gold he will be the second driver ever to win a WRC titile in two different championships. The only driver to do this so far is Sébastien Loeb who next to his nine WRC titles also has a JWRC gold from 2001.
In WRC an exciting duel for the third position awaits. Before Spain, the bronze belongs to Mads Østbergs and Jonas Anderssons, but Petter Solberg and Jari-Matti Latvala are close behind. All are driving Ford Fiesta RS WRC – Østberg privately and Solberg and Latvala for the Fords Team.
Østberg and Andersson have had a fantastic season with several podium positions and the first WRC event victory of theire career. The latter came in Portugal. Naturally, they want to end the season with a medal, but it won’t be easy.Latvala and Solberg are just four and thirteen points behind.
In WRC Academy Pontus Tidemand is fourth before the last event. With a good result he can get to the second position in his Ford Fiesta R2.
– We are going to go all-in to secure the second position in the championship. I’ve got the second most stage wins in the WRC Academy, but we’ve had technical problems with the car in three events, says Pontus.
WRC Academy only compete during Friday and Saturday in Spain. Friday offers both gravel and tarmac while Saturday is run solely on tarmac.
– The tarmac stages in Spain differs from those in Germany and France. They are more wide and flowing so you can drive more like when racing, Pontus explains.
P-G Andersson/Emil Axelsson, Proton Satria Neo S2000.