Tuesday | 15 Dec 2015

Stories of 2015: Raising the Ti-Tänak

Remember the big stories of the 2015 WRC season? This week wrc.com’s editorial team looks back at some of the major talking points. Then, when we’ve done with our favourites, you’ll have the opportunity to have your say in our special poll.

Story of 2015? Ott Tänak and Raigo Mõlder’s amazing escape from their Ford Fiesta RS seconds before it plunged to the bottom of a lake at Rally Guanajuato Mexico was one of the most remarkable in WRC history.

Tänak was seventh after Thursday evening’s opening two tests but horror unfolded less than 3km into Friday morning’s Los Mexicanos stage. He lost control after hitting a compression and rolled down a steep embankment into the water.

Onlookers gasped in amazement as the Estonians wriggled free seconds before the car plummeted to the bottom of the five metre-deep lake. Still wearing their crash helmets, they swam to safety, shocked but unhurt.

“If you are in a lake, close to the limit of your life and fighting for it, when you finally win that fight it’s an amazing feeling,” said 27-year-old Tänak afterwards.

Splashdown - Tänak rolls into the lake

“I opened the seat belts and immediately after opening the door the car filled with water. Then it went down in a short time. It was a bit scary when I got out the car. The intercom wire was still fixed and it was difficult to unplug, so it was dragging me under the water.

“That was a **** feeling but luckily I had enough force to unplug it. A few seconds later the car was gone.”

It was winched out of the lake by a crane after 10 hours beneath the water (below). Remarkably M-Sport mechanics had it running again in just three hours and he restarted Sunday’s final leg to finish the rally.