M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson has hailed Ott Tanak's "quick thinking" and fire fighting skills for saving his Fiesta RS WRC on Friday during the first leg of Rally de Portugal.

The DMACK World Rally Team man went off the road in SS5, crashing at exactly the same place as Hayden Paddon. However, while Paddon's car burnt out, Tanak, with the help of some fans was able to fight the flames with a hose and prevented his car from suffering a similar fate to the Hyundai.

"Thankfully, Ott's father is a fire-fighter and he seems to have learnt a few tricks of the trade!" Wilson joked. "[Seriously though] thanks to his quick thinking, he saved the car which was vitally important for us as a team. Big thanks to both Ott and Raigo [Molder - his co-driver] for their ingenuity. Without them, the car would have been gone!"

Tanak had been running fourth overall, just 5.3secs behind Dani Sordo in third, prior to his retirement.

"Ott's pace behind the wheel of the Fiesta was fantastic. He's proved what we all knew - that the Fiesta is still a very competitive package," Wilson added.

"Unfortunately, he won't be able to continue to show that this weekend as the car was too badly damaged during the SS5 dramas."