Dátum narodenia: 11. 11. 1975
Disciplína: Rally, Rally, WRC
Already in January 1998 finnish motorsports magazine wrote about Markko in an article titled "rising rallying star". At that time Markko was more of a novelty, a rally driver from Estonia. Since then he has learned, adapted and recently also stamped his authority with skill and quiet but strong determination.
Much like his former team-mate and agesake Petter Solberg, Markko hails from country with little or no rallying heritage. That has not stopped him from being enthusiastic about rallying, initially learning from his father Kalju, a rally driver himself. Within two months of obtaining his driver's and competitor's license, Markko was already competing in his first rally, Rally of 100 Lakes in southern Estonia. Year was 1993.
Having started with Lada Samara, Markko was understandably hungry for better cars. As usual, money was the problem, even more so in poor Estonia. Big break came when in 1997 when EK Rally Team decided to offer Markko a chance with Group A Celica (ST185). In those days, the yard stick to measure against was leading estonian rally driver Ivar Raidam. Haapsalu rally was Markko's first event with new team and was more of familiarization exercise. Starting from next event, Raidam stood no chance against Markko.
Then came 1000 Lakes 1997, Markko's first WRC event. Driving an old car against the best rally drivers in the world he was 18th after SS8 before gearbox forced him into retirement in next stage. Not bad for a debut, huh? Success followed and Celica was upgraded to newer one, bought from Marcus Gronholm and Markko began to gain experience from WRC. In due course, Celica was ditched in favour of Corolla WRC and former co-driver Toomas Kitsing stepped aside in favour of Michael Park in 2000.
Big break to world scene came with Subaru in 2001. In retrospect, that season with Subaru was only frustration for Markko. Instead of full program he started in nine events and finished only three times, mostly due to mechanical problems. Move to Ford for 2002 season where got elevated to team leader next year was, one can say, a dream come true. With new car in 2003, Markko soon realized both his and team's hopes and collected the first win. He continued with Ford in 2004 before moving to Peugeot for 2005 season. His career came to an abrupt end following a big crash in 2005 Rally GB where co-driver Michael Park was killed.
As a person, Markko is cool, calm, very collected. His ability to soak pressure and disappointment is astonishing, as was proved in Acropolis 2002 when considerable lead vanished after a puncture. In books of WRC history, Markko has already secured his place by becoming only third non-scandinavian driver ever to conquer Rally Finland.
WRC starts: 84
first: Finland 1997
latest: Great Britain 2005
Results wins: 5 (6.0% of starts)
second places: 5
third places: 8
total podiums: 18 (21.4% of starts)
points finishes: 42
total points scored: 207 (drivers' championship points)
DNF's: 27 (32.1% of starts)
Stage wins: 101
First WRC event: 1997 Finland
First DNF: 1997 Finland
First scored point: 1999 Acropolis (5th)
First stage win: 2001 Acropolis (SS3)
First time led rally: 2002 Cyprus (SS3)
First podium: 2002 Great Britain
First win: 2003 Acropolis