Positive Result for McRae in Germany
Aug 22, 2004
Alister McRae delivered a positive performance on last weekend’s Rally Deutschland, scoring a credible third position and closing the points gap on his rivals for this year’s FIA World Production Car Championship.
Driving a Jardine Lloyd Thompson Rally Team Subaru Impreza N10, McRae, who is co-driven by David Senior, had to battle some of the worst conditions seen in this year’s championship as rain frequently lashed down on the muddy, gravel-strewn asphalt stages.
Adding to the drama, the Scot was hampered throughout the opening leg by a faulty rear differential, which was particularly costly as it reduced traction out of tight turns – exactly the kind of corner that littered the stages on the opening day of the event.
But, with the car returned to perfect working order by the RED World Rally Team on the second and third days, McRae launched an impressive attack on opposition, overhauling and extending his advantage over title rivals Jani Paasonen and Toshi Arai as he settled into a strong fourth place.
Then, on the fearsome 40-kilometre Panzerplatte stage, held on the Baumholder military range, which is renowned for its high speeds and the concrete tank traps that line the roads, disaster struck. A half-spin cost a handful of seconds, and then an electrical relay caught fire, the smell of smoke proving an unfortunate distraction.
“After the problems of the first day, we were never going to have much chance of fighting for the lead,” said McRae. “But the important thing was to keep attacking and make the most of the situation. The most crucial thing was to be ahead of Jani Paasonen, who is leading the championship, and take some points away from him. I am very happy with finishing third overall and am now equal second with Toshi Arai in the Championship”
With Paasonen struggling to fifth position, McRae is now just 9 points behind the championship leader with two rounds to go. Crucially, though, under series rules Paasonen and Arai will miss the next round of the championship as drivers are only allowed to compete on six of the seven rounds. McRae has already dropped his score.
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