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Australian rally fans will be disappointed to hear that Colin McRae will not contesting next week's Telstra Rally Australia. The Scot has been replaced by Xevi Pons.

Sebastien Loeb will not make his return for the next round of the WRC, despite encouraging progress. The Frenchman's arm is not yet sufficiently healed to allow a return to competition.

The team must nominate two drivers to score manufacturer points and in Turkey, this was McRae and Sordo. Pons ran as the third car, as he has done since Germany but finished fourth, ahead of Sordo and was consistently ahead of McRae before the Scot retired on the final stage.

McRae's first event in the WRC since Australia last year didn't go according to plan. He struggled in the conditions on an event he had only contested once before, before his alternator failed on the final stage of the event, forcing his retirement.

However, Australia has traditionally been a stronger event for him, having won it twice and running a solid second last year in the Skoda Fabia WRC, before a routine clutch change on the final day went wrong and he failed to finish.

It's a bitter blow to not on Aussie fans, but also to Rally Australia organisers, who were hopeful of McRae's entry. The event will now not only be without World Champion Sebastien Loeb, but also without one of the sport's favourite sons.

The sport will be poorer because of the Kronos team's bewildering decision.

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