SCOTT Pedder and co-driver Dale Moscatt suffered bitter disappointment when they missed a dream podium finish in WRC2 at Vodafone Rally de Portugal by just 0.2 seconds.
The final day once again started positively for Pedder in his Skoda Fabia R5, setting the 11th fastest time outright and second-fastest in WRC2 behind Finn Teemu Suninen. That allowed him to edge ahead of Norway’s Marius Aasen into third.
“There’d been overnight rain and everyone was a bit cautious about the road conditions. For me, having grown up rallying on red clay in Victoria, I knew I could push and we did,” said Scott, immediately grabbing an advantage of 5.4 seconds over Aasen.
Over the next two stages Pedder adopted a more conservative approach, claiming a 16th and then a 13th outright time to extend his lead to 17.6 seconds over Aasen.
“We felt really comfortable, the car was working well, the tyre wear we’d been worried about the previous two days wasn’t an issue. I think I’d already started to think about spraying the champagne and giving my acceptance speech.”
But it was all to come unstuck on the final stage of the rally, when Pedder hit a rut on a very narrow section, half spinning the Skoda and being forced to make a time consuming three-point turn to get going again.
By the end of the stage Pedder was already aware that his advantage had turned to defeat, the margin a minuscule 0.2 seconds to Aasen, who had reclaimed the final place on the WRC2 podium.
“It’s disappointing for sure but I come away from Portugal with so many positives. I know that I can push and be as fast as any of the top drivers in this category in the world,” Pedder said.
For co-driver Dale Moscatt the comparisons between Scott and his leading rivals couldn’t be starker.
“All up Scott’s driven about 400 competitive kilometres in R5 cars. When you compare that to guys like Pontus Tidemand who contested both WRC2 and the Asia-Pacific last year, as well as being a Skoda factory driver on all the tests, well he’s probably clocked up well over 10,000 kilometres.
“So for Scott to come to Portugal, considering also we didn’t do a lot of the stages last year, and to be right on the pace or faster than these guys, is really quite incredible and a testament to the skill and determination Scott has as a driver.”
The adventure for Pedder continues in six weeks when he returns to Rally Poland, an event that holds fond memories for the Victorian.
“Firstly it’s the point last year where I finally started to feel fully comfortable pushing in an R5 car. Also it’s three days of just flat-out, high-speed roads and traditionally that’s been my strength,” Pedder said.
“So coming off all the positive of this weekend in Portugal those six weeks can’t go fast enough – I can’t wait.”
RESULTS WRC2, Vodafone Rally de Portugal:
1. Pontus Tidemand / Jonas Andersson (Skoda Fabia R5) 4:10:46.2
2. Nicholas Fuchs / Fernando Mussano (Skoda Fabia R5) +1:28.8
3. Marius Aasen / Veronica Engan (Ford Fiesta R5) +3.19.7
4. Scott Pedder / Dale Moscatt (Skoda Fabia R5) +3.19.9
Follow Scott Pedder:
Websites: www.scottpedder.com.au and www.wrc.com
Twitter: @scottpeddercom or #scottpedder