Mexico City: Estonian Ott Tanak has relived the terrifying moment he crashed into a lake during the Rally of Mexico, dramatic footage of which was caught by helmet and on-board cameras.
Tanak and co-driver Raigo Molder escaped unhurt after their Ford Fiesta RS slid off the side of the road and hurtled into the lake, quickly disappearing beneath the surface during Friday`s opening speed test.
"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 the 27-year-old Tanak, dubbed "TiTanak" by his M-Sport team.
Tanak and Molder escaped from their M-Sport World Rally Team car in under 10 seconds, with the car sinking to the bottom of the lake in just 25 seconds.
"I opened the seat belts and immediately after opening the door the car filled with water," Tanak said.
"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."
Tanak added: "I didn`t care how hard it was, I just had to get out. It was really on the limit. We were alone. There were spectators but they were far too far away and couldn`t help.
"When we started to swim to the edge, we had to swim 5-6 metres. It was quite a bit of work with the helmets on. I`m not sure if I`m a good swimmer, but I survived so I`m good enough."
Amazingly the M-Sport team hauled the car out of the lake after 10 hours and managed to get it running again, although a soggy sensor put paid to competing in Saturday`s stages.
Team principal Malcolm Wilson said: "It was a fantastic effort from the whole team so it was disappointing for everyone not to get Ott`s car back on the stages today (Saturday).
"There was some moisture in a component that we weren`t expecting, but we`ve addressed that now and should hopefully see the boys back on the stages tomorrow (Sunday)."
Footage of the dramatic crash was caught on the on-board camera and helmet cams and can be seen here: http://www.wrc.com/en/wrc/news/march/tanak-duck/page/2267--12-12-.html