|Date of birth||November 10, 1975|
|Birthplace / Hometown||Tartu, Estonia|
|First World Rally||1997 (Rally Finland)|
Markko Martin is truly a rising star in the world of rally racing. His intelligence and discipline make him a formidable threat.
Competitors have to deal with a man who not only has ambitions to be the best but also truly loves to drive. Markko has been driving cars since he was a little boy, at ages when most of us were on bikes with training wheels. Granted, not many of us had fathers who were well known rally racers. Racing and cars were always around Markko when he was small and as he grew older he became more and more impatient to begin a racing career of his own. Everything had to be put on hold until he turned 18 and was legally allowed to drive the cars. Markko was not to be deterred and the during the time leading up to his birthday he secured a car to drive, a Lada Samara he bought from his uncle, and almost immediately after his birthday he was in the rally business. Markko was a natural and quickly completed a stellar season and made a name for himself in the Estonian rally circuit.
After an impressive start to his career, Markko began to acquire sponsors and attention from the world rally circuit. In 2000 Markko started his partnership with his current co-driver Michael “Beef” Park. Together these two completed nine world rallies and won an international championship at Azores. Soon after, Markko and Michael were ushered into the Subaru team where they continued to perform very well. This season Markko is the team leader at Ford Rally Sport and his comfort in his new Ford Focus is resulting in an increased amount of confidence in Markko and fear in his opponents!
A test of Markko’s discipline and faith in his team came 2003’s Acropolis Rally. This rally is touted to be one of the toughest of the year and is complicated by car smashing gravel and grueling temperatures. Markko was making it look easy when the hood of his car opened during a stage and glued itself to his windshield. Markko completed the stage driving blind with only the precise pace notes of co-driver Michael Park to guide him. Markko did not even think of braking even though the conditions in the car were sweltering due to a blocked air vent. Any driver who can confidently drive flat out with his eyes closed is a force to be reckoned with (although, he should always have Beef along while attempting that feat.) Markko went onto conquer the rally, driving beautifully throughout and remaining humble and calm even as it became apparent that his first WRC win had finally come to fruition. Markko and Beef are a team to keep an eye on and as the season continues we expect marvelous results from the pair.
Outside of the car Markko is described as being quiet and hard to get to know but very charming. He has a dry wit and a quiet manner that is often overcome by an enormous grin. He uses mountain biking as a way to relax and train for races and also enjoys playing basketball in his few free moments of time. Most racers spend a lot of time either in the car (as much as 16 hours day) or traveling to and from races. It doesn’t leave a lot of free time for relaxing or even adjusting to time changes and new sleep schedules but Markko overcomes it enough to perform at his best in races. People who have met Markko say that even though he is a dedicated driver he realizes that there is life outside of the WRC.