Video: WRC Fiesta Goes Scuba Diving

Even in the lighthearted world of rally, peril is never far off. Amidst beer-filled radiators and oddly-shut gates on the rally stage, danger lurks around every corner. At Rally Guanajuato in Mexico, the challenging conditions don’t reward many mistakes, as Estonian ace Ott Tanak found out when he, his codriver and their M-Sport Fiesta plunged headfirst into a stageside lake. With little time to react, the two were forced to swim for their lives from the smoldering, submerged vehicle.

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The two M-Sport drivers would not allow a bit of water to prevent them from racing.

For many teams, that would’ve spelled the end; the lead mechanic expected to ship the car back to Britain in a palette. However, the team boss had other plans — and the team commenced on fixing the waterlogged WRC machine within the allotted three-hour salvage period. By removing the gearbox, diff and filter, adding a new roof, draining the fluids and flushing the system free of water, the team miraculously had the Ford back on its feet to finish the Mexican rally.

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Despite a terrifying plunge into the murky water, the car was salvaged and restored within a matter of hours.

Standing in front of a captivated audience, the team congratulate themselves, but no one is happier than the Tanak, who shows that rally still has a sense of humor by wearing a snorkeling mask onto the podium. Rally, unlike other forms of motorsport, offers the spectators to mingle with the drivers and crew, and this fosters a comfortable, familial feeling within the pits. Though Formula 1 and DTM have lots of prestige the world across, the simple, straightforward attitude held by rallyists helps it endure as one of the most engaging forms of motorsport.

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That cavalier sense of humor present in rallying is desperately needed in other forms of racing.

About the author

Tommy Parry

Tommy Parry has been racing and writing about racing cars for the past seven years. As an automotive enthusiast from a young age, he worked jobs revolving around cars throughout high school, and tried his hand on the race track on his 20th birthday. After winning his first outdoor kart race, Tommy began working as an apprentice mechanic to amateur racers in the Bay Area to sharpen his mechanical understanding. He has worked as a track day instructor and automotive writer since 2012, and continues to race karts, formula cars, sedans, and rally cars in the San Francisco region.
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