WRC: Raising the #TiTanak


fordThere are many great stories in sports, raising the TiTanak is one of them.  The MSport boys and girls got to work and achieved the impossible – getting Ott Tanak’s submerged Ford Fiesta WRC out of the water and making it work again. All within three hours. The story didn’t have a fairy tale ending but it did live to run another day…we let Ott, MSport and the internet tell the story.

M-Sport World Rally Team’s Elfyn Evans is holding a strong fifth place after the most dramatic opening day the FIA World Rally Championship has seen for a number of years. Unfortunately, Ott Tänak became one of Rally Mexico’s numerous victims, but the M-Sport team achieved the impossible – repairing a seemingly unsalvageable rally car to get it ready for tomorrow’s stages.

In the day’s most terrifying off, the Estonian’s Ford Fiesta RS WRC became submerged in a reservoir. Caught out under braking over a compression in the road, Tänak damaged the front-right suspension of his Ecoboost-powered Fiesta, 2.6 kilometres into the first stage of the morning (SS3, Los Mexicanos 1, 9.91 km). Unable to make the following left-hand corner, he and co-driver Raigo Mõlder were forced into a roll down the steep embankment – coming to a stop in the deep water.

Thankfully both driver and co-driver were unhurt in the incident, and were determined to continue the event. Showing true professionalism and determination, Mõlder even rescued his pacenotes from the watery depths – heading straight back to the hotel to dry what are one of a rally driver and co-driver’s most precious pieces of equipment.

The team were determined to see the crew back on the stages. Despite the car being completely submerged for almost 10 hours, M-Sport’s technicians were prepared to work throughout the night in an effort to repair the Fiesta, and repair it they did – with the help of both Tänak and Mõlder who stayed by their team’s side 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.

Completing the work in just three hours, it was an outstanding job by the technicians who have once again proven themselves to be in a true class of their own. To complete this epic story, the number six Fiesta RS WRC was driven into parc fermé by Tänak and Mõlder.

“This is something that we have never seen before. 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.

“To get back out on the stages tomorrow is very important for me and Raigo [Mõlder, co-driver]. We need to rebuild our confidence and get back behind the wheel, and my team have made that happen this evening.”

Ott Tanak


“After what happened to Ott [Tänak] and Raigo [Mõlder] 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.

Malcolm Wilson