Tänak’s water crossing failure different to Toyota’s

Water damage spelled trouble for three of the Rally1 drivers on Saturday morning


Ott Tänak and Takamoto Katsuta both retired from Rally Italy Sardinia due to taking damage through a water crossing, but the reason for their respective exits was not the same.

Toyota’s Katsuta was the first driver to be caught out by a deep pool of water on the first stage of Saturday morning, approaching a water crossing at the wrong angle which damaged the cooling on his GR Yaris Rally1.

“There’s a small dip to the water splash so I was braking,” Katsuta explained.

“I thought speed was OK but I was not able to accelerate before the water splash so basically the nose was already down, the angle was not right and I think was the biggest issue, I was not ready for the very deep water.”


Katsuta drove out of the stage, but was forced to retire on the road section afterwards.

“The cooling package was broken but we fixed it,” Katsuta added.

“Let’s say cooling package seems to be fixed OK but we had a few more things to check properly so then we decided to not continue because there is no point to continue with too slow speed.

“This was the reason that we had to stop.”

Team-mate Elfyn Evans was similarly caught out two stages later, although excellent mechanical work from him and co-driver Scott Martin kept them in the rally in fifth place.

“With the consequences it caught us definitely by surprise,” Evans admitted.

“I wasn’t expecting it to be as deep as it was, let’s say. So yeah I was surprised but also lucky we managed to bring it back.”

Asked what was damaged, Evans confirmed: “Radiator damage more or less. So just trying to manage the leaks and just try and refill the water.

“After that it was just a case of nursing the car through at that point. I’m not really driving at full speed so it’s just getting it through.”

M-Sport driver Tänak meanwhile slowed at the very end of the second stage after a long water crossing.

His Puma lost all power and he dipped it into EV mode to make it away from the stage, but was forced to retire after running out of time to fix the car.

Although the 2019 world champion “didn’t find” the precise nature of the problem, he confirmed it was an electrical issue that slowed him.

“Difficult to know, obviously we were not able to get it alive again,” Tänak said when asked what was broken.

“A bit of a surprise in some way. Clearly we got some water in the engine and after this, it seemed like we somehow did some damage to some electric components as well.

“Basically we blacked out and we had no electric power anymore.

“We didn’t get any water over the bonnet so we didn’t put any splitter into the water. Everything was perfect but seems like there was some other way in which we got the water in and did some damage to some places which was not meant to,” he added.

“I’m not sure if it’s unlucky but still, not needed.”


M-Sport Ford team principal Richard Millener confirmed the team will investigate the problem this afternoon with the intention of allowing Tänak to restart on Sunday.

“We don’t really know what it is,” Millener said.

“When we see the in-car footage that you see on the TV of the water splash there was nothing that would make us think it was damage from the way that he drove through that water splash… but water and electric is one of the hardest things to sometimes be able to understand what’s gone on.

“We’re going to have a bit of time when he comes back here, we’ve got the four hours to try and sort things out. But yeah we’ll do our best to kind of solve that and get back out tomorrow.

“There’s still the powerstage we’re thinking about and regardless of a bad weekend it’s not the end of our championship attack.”