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Colin Steele McRae - Born 5 August, 1968.

McRae's first rally was in 1986 in a Sunbeam Talbot Ti, contesting the Scottish Championship.

He drove  a Vauxhall  Nova for two seasons, twice won his class in the British Championship and had the backing of the British Junior Team for two WRC events.

Late in 1988, he drove a Group N Sierra Cosworth RS and finished the year runner-up to Pentti Airikkala for the Group N title.

In 1991 he signed a deal with Prodrive that was to continue for eight years.  McRae contested the British Championship in a Subaru Legacy and won in both 1991 and 1992.  During ’92, Subaru took him on some of their WRC outings – the most memorable being Rally Finland.  He had three major accidents, which probably should have caused his retirement, however he was determined to finish.  The car was so badly damaged that the rally organizers had to be  persuaded to let him continue.  He finished eighth.

McRae’s first WRC victory was in Rally New Zealand in 1993, an event he again won the following year.  He then finished off 1994 with victory in his home rally, the RAC.

1995 was to be the year McRae was crowned Britain’s first World Rally Champion.  In an eight-event championship, he retired from the first two events on the calendar, but stormed home to win two rallies, finished second on another two, and also gained a third and fifth place.  His victory on the final round in Great Britain, secured his much sought-after World title.

McRae followed up the success of 1995 with second place in the Championship in both 1996 and 1997, and third place in 1998.

His career with Subaru came to an end after the 1998 season when he crossed to Ford to compete in the new Focus WRC.  McRae won both the Safari and Portugal Rallies, but was excluded from the first rally of the year and retired from 10 others! (14 round championship).

In 2000, he again took the Focus to victory, this time in Catalunya and Greece.  He backed that up with second place in three rallies, and a third in Sweden, but retired from the four remaining events.
McRae’s assocation with Ford continued for another two years.  In 2001 he won three rallies in a row – Argentina, Cyprus and Acropolis, and the following year he again won the Acropolis and added the Safari to his tally.  This was to be his last ever WRC victory.

In 2003, McRae switched to Citroen, alongside team-mates Carlos Sainz and Sebastien Loeb.  Success was not to come his way, though, and at the end of the season, Citroen decided not to renew his contract.  Unbelievably, Colin McRae, one of the greatest rally drivers ever, would not contest the 2004 World Rally Championship!

McRae returned to the fray in 2005 with two appearances for Skoda in their Fabia WRC.  The first event, McRae’s home event, Wales Rally GB, ended with a seventh place.  The following round, Rally Australia, saw McRae jostling with Harri Rovanpera for second place.  Then came a disastrous Skoda service, the upshot of which was that the Fabia had an unexpected clutch problem and the team ran out of time repairing it, resulting in his exclusion from the rally.  Despite his obvious bitter disappointment, McRae had proven he still had what it takes to finish on the podium.

McRae’s final WRC event, the 2006 Rally of Turkey, came about after he took Sebastien Loeb’s place in the Citroen Xsara after Loeb suffered a broken arm and couldn’t compete.  The rally didn’t end well, with McRae retiring the Citroen.

Still passionate about rallying, McRae was still regularly competing in rallies in the UK, and had spent considerable time and money developing his R4 prototype rally car.


FACTS

*Colin McRae’s death came almost two years to the day since Michael Park was killed whilst co-driving for Markko Martin in Rally Great Britain.

*McRae secured Subaru’s first World Championship title.

*McRae was the first Briton to win the World Rally Champion, and in recognition of this achievement, he was awarded an MBE by the Queen.

*Rallying has lost three champions in Richards Burns, Michael Park and Colin McRae – all Brits – in the past two and a half years.

*Colin McRae brought rallying to the general public through his popular Colin McRae Rally games.

*McRae’s illustrious career included drives in the WRC with Subaru, Ford, Citroen and Skoda.



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