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Once again it was a day of triumph and tragedy for the RED World Rally Team. Alister McRae and the Toyota S2000R hit the headlines on the first three of today’s four stages, setting dazzling times through the gloomy Welsh forests north of the Rally Great Britain base in Cardiff. Then, having been the fastest man all day, he slipped off the road on the rally’s final test.

Despite the Toyota ending the event at the side of the road, instead of in Cardiff, covered in glory, the Widnes-based RED team is happy with the progress both McRae and the car have made in the last three days. The pair made history by setting a first ever fastest Group N time, not just on Rally Great Britain, but in the World Rally Championship. And then did it another three times. The car ran without any major mechanical problems straight out of the box and proved itself to be a real challenger at the head of the production-based class.

Sporting details:
Alister McRae started the final leg of the event 11th Group N. He slipped back from fourth position after 10 minutes of superally penalties were added to his total for not completing two stages on Saturday afternoon. He moved up three places through the first three stages of the day, before going off on the SS17.

Technical details:
The Toyota S2000R ran without any technical faults through today’s stages.

RED World Rally Team driver Alister McRae
“For the first three stages of the day, I was so happy with everything. The car was running really well, it was fantastic. The conditions in the stages were better for us today and we were making the most of them. I felt I was driving better and better as well, it had all clicked and the times were there. We had a spin in stage 15 and we were still fastest in Group N. I really don’t see any way I could have driven the car any quicker. When that happens, it’s a great feeling. Then, it went wrong on the last stage of the event. It was the same section which had caught [Suzuki driver] Per-Gunnar Andersson out earlier in the event. It was a downhill braking section for a right-hand corner. I couldn’t get the car slowed down enough and the nose just dropped off the road. The car went end over end and slid down the bank. We couldn’t get the car back out, but it wasn’t very badly damaged. It was such a shame to end the event this way, particularly when we had shown so much promise with four fastest times.”

RED World Rally Team principal Neil Gatt
“It’s always nice to have a car at the finish, that’s the goal when we start these events. But, that said, the way Alister and the Toyota have gone today, I would have taken this kind of result over a bunch of mediocre times and a finish down the field somewhere. What the car and Alister showed here is that the package is world-class and ready to go. And this is with just one day of testing for the RED team. Alister was absolutely flying this morning and to set four fastest times on this event is fantastic news. We have shown what the car and the team are all about. What happened in the last stage is part of the game, you know there is always a risk when you start events. In summary, we’re over the moon with the progress and pace we’ve shown here, but it would have been nice to have celebrated in Cardiff. Now, we will go back to Widnes, study the data and come back with the Toyota going even quicker.”

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