Markko Martin Sumar
Markko Martin discovered the world or rallying by watching his father compete in the sport as a driver. Markko's passion started in his early childhood when he followed his father at the service park and at the garage where his father prepared his cars.
Before even turning 18, Martin bought a Lada Samara from his uncle and started preparing the car to compete in his first rally in 1994. Success didn't take long to materialise. Martin finished in second position
in the Formula 2 category of the Estonian Championship.
The following year, Markko won in the 2-wheel drive class and also challenged the Finnish drivers at the Mantta Rally, finishing in twelfth place.
After selling his Lada, Markko bought a Group N Ford Escort Cosworth in 1996. That car helped him to claim second position in the Estonian Championship. At the end of the season, he sold the Escort to buy a Celica. Despite having a small budget, Martin won the Estonian Championship in 1997. Backed by an Estonian petroleum company, the young driver also competed in rallies in Lithuania, Finland and the Netherlands.
In 1998, Martin found himself behind the wheel of a Celica GT4 (formerly Marcus Gronholm's car) and won his national championship once again. The Estonian also made of a few appearances in the World Rally Championship. While his WRC race wasn't too positive - his car was destroyed after catching on fire - the rest of the season was much better, the young Estonian finishing the last event (Rally of Great Britain) at an encouraging ninth place.
Martin drove an Escort once again in the first part of the 1999 season. Later on that same year, Toyota gave him the opportunity to join the Toyota Sweden team. Martin drove a Corolla in four rounds of the World Rally Championship and clinched fifth position at the Acropolis Rally.
Martin took part in nine World Championship events in 2000 and teamed up with a new co-driver: Michael Park. The crew's results were excellent, the duo finishing six times in the top ten. Markko also won his first international rally by taking a victory at the Rally Acores. In 2001, Martin signed a contract with Subaru and participated to nine WRC events. His best result was a fifth place in Finland.
Markko joined Ford Rallye Sport in 2002 and took the lead in a WRC event for the first time at the Cyprus Rally. He lead again at the Acropolis before a puncture ruined his chances of getting a victory.
Martin stayed at Ford in 2003 and achieved excellent performances in New Zealand and Argentina... only to retire. Markko took his revenge at the Acropolis Rally. He lead the event almost from the start until the finish and won his first WRC victory. On top of that, the Estonian won in Finland in front of the local stars.
The 2004 season confirmed that Markko Martin was one of the best drivers in the world. The Ford driver won in Mexico, Corsica and Catalunya, the latter two events on asphalt. Martin finished third in the 2004 standings and will now look forward to a new challenge at Peugeot in 2005.