Ott Tanak’s return to Rally Mexico has been put back to Sunday despite his M-Sport team’s efforts to repair his Ford Fiesta WRC after it fell into a lake (watch video).
The Estonian’s car was fixed in time to leave morning service after spending more than nine hours underwater on Friday, but stopped on its way to Saturday’s opening test. Tanak and co-driver Raigo Molder worked on it at the side of the road and got it running, but ran out of time to start the Ibarrilla run.
The car has just returned to service in Leon where it will undergo more work in time for Sunday, with M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson confident Tanak can resume for the final three stages of the rally.
“We really want to get the boys out again,” Wilson told AUTOSPORT. “It’s so disappointing after we had it running for half an hour last night, all the sensors were working and everything was looking good.”
The issue is believed to be due to moisture in the engine coil.
“We’ll sit the car in the sun and work on it this afternoon,” said Wilson. “It’s very difficult to get all the moisture out of the coil area. We’ll have more time to look at it now, we can change the wiring loom and a few more parts. We’ll get it sorted.”
Regulations allow M-Sport three hours to work on the car once the repair begins. Apart from the engine, the wiring loom was the only major part not changed on the car last night, due to the time it would have taken to complete the job.
Tanak will pick up a seven-minute penalty for each stage he misses on Saturday.