UN­DER FIRE Ott Tanak: the fire­fighter

Motor Sport News - - Rally News - THE OR­GAN­ISER’S VIEW Rally Por­tu­gal re­port, p22

Ott Tanak called on ex­pe­ri­ences he learned from his fire­fight­ing fa­ther to save his Ford Fi­esta RS WRC from the fifth-stage fire.

Tanak’s DMACK car would have gone the same way as Hay­den Pad­don’s Hyundai i20 WRC were it not for the Es­to­nian’s de­ter­mi­na­tion to res­cue the Fi­esta.

“My fa­ther was a fire­man and this helped a lit­tle bit,” Tanak told MN. “When I was a child, I went out on some oc­ca­sions and I learned some things; I know there’s no point putting wa­ter on mag­ne­sium, it just gives more fire. But still, in the end, it’s in­stinct for ev­ery driver who has their own car in the fire: they want to save it.

“When we landed in the mid­dle of the fire, straight away we got out of the car. But then I started to try to res­cue the car. It was al­ready red hot, I tried to open the door, but the door han­dle – all of the side of the car – had melted al­ready, so I couldn’t get in to get the ex­tin­guisher out.”

Tanak then got a rope into the car to try and pull it free from the fire.

He ex­plained: “Luck­ily there were some guys with a four-wheel drive, we got a rope around the rollcage and we were able to pull the car clear. Af­ter that we got some wa­ter and put that on our car.”

M-sport team prin­ci­pal Mal­colm Wil­son says Tanak sav­ing the car was vi­tal.

“Of course, we couldn’t ask him to do this,” said Wil­son, “but I have to say, I am so grate­ful that he did. When it came on the ra­dio that the car was on fire, I’ll ad­mit, my head was in my hands. We have no more [cur­rent] cars. Ev­ery­thing we have at M-sport is go­ing into build­ing new cars for next sea­son, we have shells for this year’s cars, but we sim­ply don’t have an­other com­plete car.”

Hyundai went up in flames rapidly Tanak’s car was charred af­ter shunt

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