M-Sport's Ott Tanak will be able to re-start on Rally Mexico, despite having gone off and put his car into a lake on Friday in SS3.
Tanak and co-driver Ragio Molder both extracted themselves from the car before it sank and the Cumbrian team then repaired the seemingly unsalvageable car that had been submerged for almost 10 hours.
The work was completed in just three hours, with the mechanics 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 drained the engine of excess water. The car was then driven into overnight parc ferme fermé by Tanak and Molder.
“This is something that we have never seen before,” said Tanak, who ends the leg classified 29th under Rally 2. “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!
“It was a crazy challenge, but I knew the M-Sport guys would be up for it. 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.”
Meanwhile, M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson described the job done by the mechanics as “nothing short of phenomenal” and he also underlined how crucial it was to fix the car.
“After what happened to Ott and Raigo today, it was just a huge relief for the entire team to see that they were both okay,” Wilson added.
“For me, though [once we knew they were okay], 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.”
*Tanak: The car sank really fast
*Tanak hopes to re-start after Mexico dip