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.
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.
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.