After a second win of 2020, which carried the Toyota Gazoo Racing pair back to the head of the FIA World Rally Championship, Martin dedicated the success to his mentor and former WRC co-driver, Michael ‘Beef’ Park.
Park was influential in developing a young Martin’s career when both were at M-Sport almost 20 years ago. He co-drove Estonia’s Markko Märtin while Scott Martin was a young technician there, climbing the co-driving ranks in the British rally scene.
Park died in an accident at Wales Rally GB in 2005 and Martin’s second WRC event win in Turkey came just two days after the 15th anniversary of that tragic incident.
Video: Rally Turkey winners - Elfyn Evans and Scott Martin
Speaking in a fascinating WRC Backstories podcast, Martin told interviewer Becs Williams how victory in Turkey, after a mad final day when the punishing rocky roads caused puncture chaos among the frontrunners, meant so much.
“Everybody had a spot of bad luck and it’s just that Turkey is always like that. It’s the guy who has the least bad luck or the least amount of problems [who wins],” he said.
“It just felt the way the weekend unfolded, and on that Sunday, I thought he [Park] was definitely with us that bit more that weekend. He kept us on the straight and narrow and I owe him that because of everything he put in at the start.”
Martin also opens up about that torrid 2005 season. A serious accident alongside Matthew Wilson, followed months later by Park’s death, prompted him to take the decision to quit the sport, despite a WRC campaign with childhood friend Wilson in place for 2006.
“After WRC GB 2005 when I got home after everything that had happened, it was a very, very sad time, an emotional time. We picked our heads up, we continued but when I got back in the car, something just didn’t feel right,” he explains.
“I wasn’t scared but when you look back at those two or three months after, the love had gone and my passion had gone for the sport. I didn’t really know why I was wanting to do it any more. It was one of my hardest decisions. There were tears everywhere.”
Martin reveals how the last of three visits to a sports psychologist at Edinburgh University persuaded him to change his mind and rebuild a career in which he partnered Wilson, Khalid Al Qassimi and Craig Breen in the WRC before joining Evans.
Martin also talks about his first ride in a top line World Rally Car alongside Thomas Rådström during a test, working with Colin McRae as a junior technician and his move to Toyota Gazoo Racing this season.