M-Sport Ford explains the timeline until Tanak's engine blow

The technical director of M-Sport Ford, Chris Williams, describes the processes that his team followed before the start of Rally Estonia and what sign led the mechanics to worry about Ott Tanak's engine.

The Estonian driver started his home event with a five-minute time penalty as his mechanics were forced to replace the nursing engine of his Puma with a healthy one. More specifically, the mechanics started worrying about the engine on Wednesday morning when they switched on Tanak's Puma, as they had to go to the scales to be weighed, and heard a misfire. After this incident, they started to change some things as the data did not show any specific problem, but the Puma did not sound healthy when Tanak arrived at the stop control of Shakedown after the first pass. Then, the team decided to fit a new engine to Tanak's Puma which is permitted by FIA, but he should take a five-minute time penalty. Normally, each driver has the right to have two engines per season, therefore this is the second engine for Tanak with five remaining rallies of 2023.

"Everything was done in the same way", Williams said.

"We have a process which involves running on the dyno for an hour then in the car probably around 40 kilometers, including the shakedown process back in the UK.

"The data from the shakedown looked good, we had no problems, power curves were OK from dyno. 

"We’d done all the usual due diligence and the car was signed off – we’d done everything we do to make sure this sort of thing doesn’t happen.

"We came out to Estonia and the first thing was the car was scrutineered. 

"That was about nine o’clock on Wednesday morning.

"Everything was fine. 

"Around lunchtime the car had to go to the scales to be weighed. 

"When the boys came back in they said: “It’s got a misfire, we think. It just sounds a little bit off, on idle.”

"We brought it back and started changing some bits and it didn’t make any difference. 

"We were looking at each other and asking: “Are we worried?” 

"There was still nothing on the data. 

"We kept looking. 

"We took the turbo off, we replaced the wiring loom, the spark plugs, the injectors, coils. 

"We changed everything we could except for the hardware.

"We knew immediately after the first run of shakedown that there was something seriously wrong on Thursday.

"It was a brand-new engine.

"Obviously we don’t know until we look into the engine and find out more, but it looks like there’s something gone wrong with the new build. 

"We didn’t do anything different, we used the same parts and the same process.

"Like I said, we have good, quality procedures in place that would pick issues up. 

"Something has gone wrong".

Source: DirtFish.com

Photo Credits: M-Sport

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