Spotlight not an issue for speedster Swede
ONLY a few years ago Pontus Tidemand was plying his trade as a "glass master" in Sweden but now leads his maiden Asia Pacific Rally Championships.
At 24-years-old, Tidemand has an impressive resume.
As a comparatively inexperienced driver he has already notched up victories in the World Rally Championship Two, the second highest level of rally driving.
He holds the record as the youngest racer to win the Swedish Rally Championship, in 2011, and in 2013 he won the Junior World Rally Championship.
Although he has loved racing ever since he was a kid, Tidemand was recently replacing windscreens for a living.
"For two and a half years I had a normal job but the rally career started to take off," he said.
"My dad was rallying at a high level and as a kid I was always interested, so I had good support from my family.
"I had quad bikes when I was three or four."
From humble beginnings Tidemand has learnt how to deal with the spotlight very quickly.
While the sport is relatively unknown in Australia, Tidemand said it had a massive following in Sweden and across Europe.
"At one of the stages in Portugal we had 250,000 spectators," he said.
It is Tidemand's first time in Australia, for round three of the APRC at the Sunshine Coach, but he is confident he will take out top position this weekend.
He said the track conditions in Australia are quite similar to those of his home country but was wary of wet conditions.
"It's quite fast and flowing roads and I like this," he said.
"In Scandinavia it's also quite fast so at this point I like it but we don't get this mud and slippery conditions so that will be new to me."
SUN, SEA, SPEED
- International Rally of Queensland, including APRC and ARC.
- Started yesterday and finishes tomorrow.
- Starts and finishes at Araucaria Creek Road, Imbil.