Ott Tänak crashed, heroically returned to 2015 Rally Mexico

March 7, 2015
George Sugarman

Track events usually take place in an enclosed area which is the safest environment possible, but in rallying, where crews take on various surfaces trying to conquer difficult terrain, outrageous crashes and slide offs tend to happen. One of those occurred during the Rally Mexico event when Ott Tänak lost control of his Ford Fiesta and tumbled off the track and into a lake.

Fortunately, both Tänak and his co-driver managed to climb out of the car before it got submerged, but the events after the crash put the organizers to shame. For seventeen minutes, no one knew where the two contestants were. Both M-Sport team and WRC officials were completely unaware of whether Tänak and Raigo Moelder were alive and well. WRC TV crew sent their helicopter to find the crew, which they did before any of the officials. The SS3 was stopped as the result of the crash, and both men were driven away in the safety car.

In a written statement, WRC has confirmed that the drivers are okay, but that the team has no idea where the car was. Tänak’s written statement explained how he lost contact with the team:

“It was a different experience today. I braked too hard into a compression which damaged the front-right suspension. We couldn’t steer the car around the next left-hand corner and went off the edge of the road. The drop was so steep that we rolled into the water. Luckily the car landed on its wheels but the water was so deep that the car sank really fast. As soon as we opened the doors the car was gone in just a few seconds. I also had a problem with my intercom wire because it didn’t come loose and was dragging me under the water. We were really lucky. It was not a nice moment to have. After that there was no chance to contact the team. The radio was gone and there was very little phone signal where we were. No one back at the team knew what had happened to us for almost 20 minutes and that – as you can imagine – was a big concern for everyone back in the service park. I’ve never had this type of feeling before. It’s an empty feeling but the best thing is to get back in the car. The team are trying to get the car back as soon as possible and they are ready to fight all night to repair it ready for tomorrow. It sounds like a crazy plan, but if there is any chance to restart the rally I know my team can make it happen.”

In a series of immensely manly tweets, M-Sport team showed us that the race is not over. The Fiesta nicknamed Titänak was recovered and is ready to continue thanks to heroic efforts from the whole team:

Whoever wins Rally Mexico will surely be in the shadow of this event which had the best possible outcome!

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