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Alister McRae wins ‘family’ rally
Oct 03, 2006

Alister McRae won his ‘family’ event, the Colin McRae Stages rally this weekend. Driving his Mk2 Ford Escort, Alister triumphed over both his brother Colin and father Jimmy, as well as more advanced four-wheel drive machinery on the gravel stages which made up the event.

All three McRaes, Alister, Colin and Jimmy were driving their own respective Mk2 Ford Escorts, a prospect that guaranteed a good turn-out of not only competitors but spectators, eager to see the three McRaes in action on the event which bore the most famous surname in rallying.

Alister set the pace from the word go and was the fastest two-wheel drive car over each of the day’s five stages – the event’s fourth stage was cancelled. Not only did he take the win in the two wheel-drive category on every stage, he also set the outright fastest time on the day’s first stage, to head the field at the beginning of the event.

“It was down to sheer skill,” he joked, explaining his pace at the start of the day. “Seriously, it was foggy and damp for the first couple of stages and I think a bit of local knowledge and experience over the years helped there.” He finished the first stage leading the event overall and despite dropping a handful of seconds on the second stage, maintained his lead as the crews headed for the third timed test.

It was here that he was to lose the lead to Jimmy Girvan who, in a Group A Subaru Impreza, was just two seconds faster over the stage, giving him the lead, by the most slender of margins. Girvan was also faster on the following stage, extending his lead by a further five seconds.

However, Alister refused to accept second-best and took another stage win on the final test of the event, to reach the finish podium as overall winner, by a margin of just four seconds. Third was Gary Adam, in an Impreza WRC with Barry Johnson fourth in another Impreza WRC.

Brother Colin’s event didn’t go so well, as he retired on the first stage with engine failure. However, Jimmy’s rally went better for a while, running fifth in class until he too retired, as a result of gearbox failure.

“That was fantastic fun,” Alister said at the end of the day. “The car was very good, especially on the faster and more flowing stages, where we weren’t at such a disadvantage with just two wheel-drive. It was a shame that Dad and Colin didn’t finish but well, I guess they buckled under the pressure!

“I haven’t competed on gravel in a rear wheel-drive car for quite a long time, so it was good to get back in it and drive. It felt great and very spectacular and I hope that it gave the spectators something to enjoy, the sight of one of these cars being driven hard. It certainly felt like it from inside.”

To see more images from this rally stage click here

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