Pontus Tidemand has been announced as M-Sport’s driver for the 2019 FIA World Rally Championship for the first two rounds.
The 28-year-old will make his WRC return abode a Ford Fiesta WRC for M-Sport, having signed a two-rally contract for now. His first assignment will be the 2019 season-opener in Rally Monte-Carlo.
The Swede will then race in Rally Sweden – his home event. “I want nothing but to reach my dream to one day become world champion and that means I have to step away from the safe path and do everything in my power to move forward,” said Tidemand.
“We have found a great solution and I’m so grateful that Malcolm offers me this opportunity. In Monte-Carlo, focus will be on the experience, to get a feel for the car and get to know the team before Rally Sweden, where I really want to be as well prepared as possible and be able to fight for real.
“My previous experiences from the team and the car are great and it feels like a positive thing to have good results behind even though much has happened with the cars since then.
“M-Sport are professional all the way and I know they will hand me all the tools I need to be able to perform my best. I’m glad to be back behind the wheel of a WRC car and most of all that this is made possible with the support from Malcolm and my local partners.
“That has been a big goal for me and what we have worked for since the last rally of the season. Now I feel more than ready to tackle new challenges.” It remains to be seen if Tidemand does the whole season with the British team or not.
Ever since Sebastien Ogier decided to move to Citroen, M-Sport has been struggling to find enough funds to run cars in WRC. The deal with Tidemand could be a good news for the outfit but their full line-up for 2019 is yet to be revealed.
It is being reported though that both Teemu Suninen and Elfyn Evans will run full-time. Meanwhile, Tidemand’s co-driver is yet to be confirmed as well – the Swede ran with Jonas Andersson during his WRC2 stint in 2018.
The Junior WRC, Asia-Pacific Rally Championship and WRC2 winner is eyeing a full-time run in WRC especially having ended his relation with Skoda Motorsport after 2018 and now also parting ways with his long-time management team, Even Management.