Image courtesy of wrc.com
M-Sport has repaired Ott Tanak’s Ford after its crash into a lake on Friday ready for it to rejoin Rally Mexico for Saturday’s stages.
The Ford Fiesta RS WRC spent almost 10 hours submerged at the bottom of a lake after Tanak went off on the Los Mexicanos stage and ended up in the water. Only after the second running of the stage in the afternoon could work begin to retrieve the car and bring it back to service for assessment.
VIDEO: Rally Mexico Ott Tanak crash
M-Sport changed the car’s gearbox, fuel tank, turbo, cooling package, boost control valves, electronic components, brake components, front and rear suspension components plus a number of cosmetic components, repaired the engine block and drained the engine of excess water, in a process completed in three hours.
“It was a crazy challenge, but I knew the M-Sport guys would be up for it,” said Tanak. “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.”
Both Tanak and co-driver Raigo Molder were able to swim to safety as the car sank, with Molder even keeping hold of his pace notes while in the water.
Team boss Malcolm Wilson said there had never been any doubt that Tanak should rejoin under Rally2 if there was any possibility of reviving the car.
“For me, it was important to get them back out on the stages and that was exactly what they wanted to do,” he said. “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.”
With a relatively small entry for Mexico, Tanak will restart from 29th place overall, albeit 55 minutes off the lead.