Markko Märtin

Markko Märtin

Estonia (EE)

CAREER PROFILE

1993: 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

Marital status:
Single

Hobbies:
mountain biking, basketball

World Drivers' Champion:
Not yet

Entries of WRC Events

 

At only 28 years of age, Estonia’s 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 success.

The Escort was sold at the end of the season and replaced by a Celica. With budgets tight, Märtin drove carefully but quickly to win the Estonian Championship in 1997. When support came his way from the Estonian Oil Service, he was able to extend his experience by competing in Lithuania, Finland and Holland. 

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.

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