9 March 2015
WRC Rally Mexico: Tanak makes it to finish, despite reservoir detour
M-Sport World Rally Team driver Ott Tanak “sails” to the finish in Mexico: “It is something unreal what they have done...”
M-Sport's Ott Tanak made it to the finish of Rally Mexico on Sunday and scored a manufacturers' point, despite his SS3 off that left his Fiesta RS WRC car in a reservoir.
The dramatic incident occurred in the opening test on Friday, the 9.91 km Los Mexicanos test, when the Estonian damaged the front-right suspension around 3km in and went off the road. Tanak and co-driver Ragio Molder both escaped unharmed, but the car quickly sank and was left submerged for almost 10 hours.
However, once it was recovered and back in service, his M-Sport mechanics soon got to work and within two and a half hours on Friday evening his mechanics had the engine fired-up and running, a remarkable feat.
Unfortunately a sensor problem then stopped Tanak starting the opening stage on Saturday, although he did manage to rejoin the following day, doing all three final tests and successfully getting the car, now christened with a “TiTanak” sticker, to the end.
“The team have done a fantastic job, it is something unreal what they have done,” said Tanak, who along with his co-driver, wittily praised the work of the team at the end by taking to the podium wearing goggles and a snorkel.
“It is such a great feeling to have been able to carry on. It was so important for me and Raigo to do that, and we really enjoyed it. Now, we can look to improve in Argentina,” he continued.
“I am so proud of my team and it is such a privilege to work alongside each and every one of them. It is a real boost for a driver to know that you have people like that behind you all of the time one hundred percent,” he added
“I am still amazed at what they managed to do this weekend. It was mega - just incredible. The beers are definitely on me tonight!”
Meanwhile, M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson was impressed by the attitude shown by his team. He also revealed that once “TiTanak” is back at their HQ, the bonnet will be signed by all those who aided in its repair and then put on display in tribute to their efforts.
“The work the boys did to get Ott's car to the end of the rally was nothing short of phenomenal,” Wilson underlined. “After everything Ott and Raigo went through, it was so important to get them back behind the wheel.
“It is the first step in rebuilding their confidence and, incredibly, they even brought a manufacturer point back for the team as well!
“We truly believe that we have the most talented, dedicated and determined technicians in the sport; and they have proved that again this weekend. It is an absolute pleasure to watch them at work. They are a true team in every sense of the word and I certainly won't forget this event for a long time to come.
"In fact, we did not change the bonnet after it had been in the water. It is been the same bonnet on the car all weekend and when we get back to the workshop it is going to be signed by each and every one of those technicians and displayed in the M-Sport museum.”
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