Car salvaged from lake and fixed by mechanics working overnight for Estonian young gun to rejoin on Satuday.
Ott Tanak will rejoin Rally Mexico today, less than 24 hours after somersaulting his M-Sport Ford Fiesta RS WRC into a lake – into which it then sank to the bottom.
He and co-driver Raigo Molder were forced to swim for their lives, but despite the car being completely submerged for almost 10 hours, M-Sport's technicians worked throughout the night to repair the Fiesta. Tanak and Molder stayed by their side until the work was complete.
"This is something that we have never seen before,” said Tanak. “The car has been gone all day, submerged at the bottom of a lake, full of water, and the team had to do a full rebuild in just three hours!"
Achieving the impossible
Changing the gearbox, fuel tank, turbo, cooling package, boost control valves, electronic components, brake components, front and rear suspension components as well as a number of cosmetic components, the team also repaired the engine block and, of course, drain the engine of excess water.
To complete this epic story, the Fiesta RS WRC was then driven into parc fermé by Tanak.
"It was a crazy challenge, but I knew the M-Sport guys would be up for it,” he added. “I have massive respect for my team. This was a huge task to do, but they have worked as hard as they always do and I am so grateful to each and every one of them.
"To get back out on the stages tomorrow is very important for me and Raigo. We need to rebuild our confidence and get back behind the wheel, and my team have made that happen this evening."
One proud team boss
Team Principal, Malcolm Wilson, added: "After what happened, for me, it was important to get them back out on the stages and that was exactly what they wanted to do. There was no deliberation, and that shows a real determination.
"The job that our technicians did to get the car fixed was nothing short of phenomenal. There were a lot of people in the service park who didn't think it could be done, but I knew that they would be more than worthy of the challenge.
"They are a true credit to this team and I am sure that their loyalty and respect for Ott and Raigo also spurred them on – the crew staying by their side until the work was complete.”