Overnight, the M-Sport squad achieved the impossible – repairing a seemingly unsalvageable rally car to get it ready for Day 2 of Rally Mexico.
Caught out under braking over a compression in the road, Tänak damaged the front-right suspension of his Fiesta, 2.6 kms into the first stage of the morning and rolled down a steep embankment – coming to a stop in deep water.
Showing true professionalism and determination, Mõlder even rescued his pacenotes from the watery depths – heading straight back to the hotel to dry them out.
Despite the car being completely submerged for almost 10 hours, M-Sport's technicians worked throughout the night, helped by both Tänak and Mõlder until the work was complete.
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. They completed the work in just three hours!
Ott Tänak said: “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.”
Malcolm Wilson added: "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. For me, 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.”