PROFILE1993: Started rallying with Lada
1996: Drives with Ford
1997: His WRC debut in Rally Finland with Toyota
1998: Drives with Toyota
1999: Drives with Ford and Toyota, 5th in Acropolis Rally
2000: Drives with Toyota and Subaru, 6th in Cyprus
2001: Contract with Subaru, 5th in Finland
2002: Contract with Ford, 2nd in Great Britain, 9th WRC for Drivers
2003: Drives Ford, 1st WRC win in Greece, won also in Finland, 5th WRC for Drivers
2004: Drives Ford, win in Mexico, Corsica and Spain, 3rd WRC for Drivers
2005: Move to Peugeot
|Date of Birth:
11/11/1975 at Tarto
World Drivers' Champion:
years of age, Estonias Markko Märtin is widely regarded as one of the most promising talent in Rallying. He is the most promising
driver to ever emerge from Estonia and achieved his country´s first ever WRC points when
he placed fifth in the Acropolis Rally 1999.
Martin began his career in 1994 when he followed his father into rallying. He bought a Lada Samara from his uncle and spent several months building it up into a rally car. He was second in his class the first year and won his own class in the championship , but soon progressed onto more potent machinery and concentrated his efforts on bypassing his national championship and heading straight for the world stage.
His first rally outside Estonia was the 1995 International Mantta Rally in Finland. He finished 12th in his little Lada up against Opels and cars like that.
In 1996 Martin bought a Group N Ford Escort
Cosworth in Britain and brought this back to Estonia. It was a shrewd move
and he finished second overall in the national championship. He ended the
year on a high. Securing a drive in an ex-works Toyota Celica, almost by
chance, he took part in a rally in Latvia and won – his first outright
His ability behind the wheel of a rally car was earning praise and support and for 1998 he moved into a Toyota Celica ST205, formerly driven by Marcus Grönholm. During the season he impressed many with both his speed and maturity. It was enough to attract the attention of Toyota Team Europe boss Ove Andersson. He rated Martin highly enough to offer assistance wherever possible. The increase in budget allowed him not only to repeat his national championship success but to embark on a limited world championship programme. However, his first world event of the season, in Portugal, ended in disaster when a fire destroyed the car. It was replaced by another Celica, prepared by Italian team Grifone, and Märtin used that to good effect and rounded off the season with ninth on the Rally of Great Britain.
In 1999 he started the season with Ford Escort WRC, bacause it was the cheapest way to get in drive World Rally Car. In Sweden, on his second ever winter rally, he beat works drivers like Freddy Loix, Bruno Thiry, Petter Solberg and Harri Rovanpera. From mid-1999 he started to work with Swedish Toyota Team run by Leif Asterhag. He got the rally cars free from Toyota but he had to pay for the tyres, fuel mechanics and so on. On his first event with the Toyota Corolla WRC he placed fifth in the Acropolis Rally.
First international rally win came in Azores in June 2000, when he drove for the private Cilti team in a Subaru and in Cyprus he placed sixth again with Toyota. Märtin teamed up with new co-driver Michael Park for the first time in 2000 and he made a works contract with Subaru and drove as a third driver in 2001. Hopes of a full 14-round programme did not materialise, despite being promised equal status with fellow junior Petter Solberg. He matched his best world rally result with fifth place in Finland.
In 2002 he joined Ford for his first full World Championship campaign. He led a world rally for the first time in Cyprus and surprised many by building up a huge lead on the Acropolis Rally before a puncture ruined his victory hopes. A career best second on the final round in Britain brought to an end a season in which he retired just once and his incredible consistency ensured he scored points on eight of the last nine rounds.
For the season 2003 Ford decided
that it would not renew the conctract of Colin McRae and Carlos Sainz and
now Märtin was the team leader.
The introduction of the Focus RS WRC 03 proved the catalyst for
Märtin to make another big step forward in his career. After excellent
performances in New Zealand and Argentina, which ended in retirements, he
led from almost start to finish to claim his first
ever World Rally Championship win on
the Acropolis Rally in Greece. It
was the first Estonian win on a World
Championship event and in Finland
he stopped ten years domination of local drivers taking win. The Estonian
puts his name on the very selective list of non-Finnish drivers that have
won the event. Martin joins Carlos Sainz and Didier Auriol, the only two
men to achieve this exploit before him.
In 2004 Märtin was really aiming his
first World Rally Championship title. In Rally Mexico he took his
third ever World Championship win. It was a fitting result for Ford's
works M-Sport team, which celebrated its 100th appearance in the WRC with
this event. In Argentina he crashed heavily and it took much time to
recover from the accident. Then in Corsica he found his old speed and
dominated the event taking his fourth ever WRC win and in the next event in
Catalunya he won again taking the third
place in the drivers' championship. In 2005 Märtin starts his first year in the
Peugeot team. He decided to make the surprise move to Peugeot, despite the
fact that the team is withdrawing from the World Rally Championship at the end of 2005. If
Peugeot has solved the 307´s problems, he will certainly be a title contender.
In 2005 Märtin starts his first year in the Peugeot team. He decided to make the surprise move to Peugeot, despite the fact that the team is withdrawing from the World Rally Championship at the end of 2005. If Peugeot has solved the 307´s problems, he will certainly be a title contender.