March 7, 2015 / 10:59 AM / 4 years ago

Tanak back on the road after team takes the plunge

Ott Tanak and Raigo Molder of Estonia drive their Ford Fiesta RS WRC on SS20 during the Rally Sweden second round of the FIA World Rally Championship in Hagfors, February 15, 2015. REUTERS/Micke Fransson/TT News Agency

(Reuters) - Estonian driver Ott Tanak was back in the Rally of Mexico on Saturday after his submerged Ford was fished out of a reservoir and rebuilt overnight.

Tanak’s car rolled down a steep embankment and plunged into deep water on Friday’s second leg of the Guanajuato-based rally, remaining sunk for 10 hours.

“As soon as we opened the doors the car was gone in just a few seconds,” the M-Sport driver had said after he and co-driver Raigo Moelder, who managed to retrieve his pace notes, had scrambled free.

“I also had a problem with my intercom wire because it didn’t come loose and was dragging me under the water. We were really lucky.”

After finally pulling the car out, M-Sport drained the engine and replaced the gearbox, fuel tank, turbo, electronic components and a host of other parts.

“This is something that we have never seen before,” Tanak said.

“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.”

French world champion Sebastien Ogier led the rally for Volkswagen after the second leg.

Reporting by Alan Baldwin, editing by Ed Osmond

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