Alister third in group N after day one in New Zealand
Aug 31, 2007

Scottish rally driver Alister McRae completed the first of three days of competition in this year’s Rally New Zealand in an excellent 14th place overall and third in Group N, and took the heat win in the New Zealand Rally Championship category to boot. The former British Rally Champion, partnered by co-driver Erin Kyle and driving the KPMG-sponsored Taylor Motorsport Mitsubishi Lancer EvoIX, set competitive times throughout the leg, over the soft New Zealand stages.

Heavy rain overnight before the start of the event gave way to clear skies but low temperatures. This had the effect of binding the famous loose gravel together, giving early cars on the road an advantage. However, it did mean that for later cars like Alister, the roads would be muddier and looser and therefore, traction would be harder to find.

New Zealand is McRae’s favourite event in the WRC and he was obviously at home on the fast and flowing gravel stages. His experience on the event, when driving for the works Hyundai and Mitsubishi rally teams showed, with a string of top ten stage times in the Group N category. However, it’s not just stage times which make for success, as Alister knows and a pragmatic approach ensured that he not only set impressive times in his first outing in the car and with Kyle, he avoided incidents which cost other competitors significant time and places.

Following the first of the day’s five stages, he was lying in 21st place overall and eighth in Group N. However, despite a split engine turbo boost pipe on the second stage for seven kilometres, his performance, combined with staying out of trouble meant that he climbed up the leader-board by two places.

It would be the second run through the 44Km Waitomo stage that would give him the biggest advantage though, even with further problems. The Scot clipped a rock which had been pulled out of the bank at the side of the road and bent his Mitsubishi’s steering, completing 15Km of the stage with the suspension geometry damaged.

However, two of the regular FIA Production car World Rally Championship runners ahead of him, Toshi Arai and Juho Hanninen suffered problems on the stage, as did local driver Richard Mason, promoting Alister by three places in the category and to 15th overall. A short blast round the Mystery Creek Superspecial in Hamilton gave the Scot another overall position, to 14th, as Manfred Stohl suffered problems in the Citroen Xsara World Rally Car.

Arriving back at the Hamilton service park, McRae was understandably pleased with the day’s work; “It’s been a pretty good day today,” he said. “I was a bit disappointed to bend the steering in the penultimate stage, as we were only a few seconds behind Niall [McShea] going into the stage and we were having a big push to get in front of him. But we’ve been improving the car throughout the day and have made more changes this evening, so I’m hopeful we’ll be able to close the gap tomorrow.

“The road conditions today were quite slippery, as the overnight rain and the cars before us meant they were quite churned up. But it hasn’t rained today and I hope it stays dry overnight. This will mean that the roads will dry out and hopefully, we’ll have an advantage over the earlier runners, which will again help us to improve our position.”

There was more to celebrate for McRae at the end of the first leg, as he won the first of the event’s two heats that form part of the New Zealand Rally Championship round. There are points awarded for the finishing positions in the NZRC category on both Friday and Saturday, as well as an overall result from both days. So there are potentially four results Alister is fighting for; two NZRC heat wins, the NZRC overall win and his WRC result.

“I’m delighted to take the NZRC heat win today, on the first event with Erin co-driving, with Taylor Motorsport and of course with our sponsors, KPMG and Wakaito Milking Systems. We’ll obviously be trying hard to win tomorrow’s heat as well, along with the overall NZRC round win. We’ll also push hard for the best result we can in the WRC category.”


latest news
Alister McRae to drive in the Rally Legends in San Marino
Alister Mcrae on the grid for Extreme Rallycross Championship
Event-winning Subaru to return for 2016 Race to the Sky
McRae wins Repco Race to the Sky in Possum’s Subaru
McRae takes Race to the Sky
McRae to pilot famous Vantage Subaru at Repco Race to the Sky
McRae back for 2015 Otago Classic Rally
Alister McRae returning from Australia for the McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill
Alister to race in the Boucles Du Bastogne 2015
Alister McRae wins class on Australasian Safari – on two wheels
Alister McRae announces entry for Alpine Rally
China Rally Longyou review 2012
China Rally Longyou preview 2012
Hokkaido Rally 2012 preview
Malaysian Rally 2012 review
Malaysian Rally 2012 preview
Rally New Zealand preview
International Rally of Queensland review
International Rally of Queensland preview
Rallye de Nouvelle Caledonie review
New Caladonia Rally Preview
International Rally of Whangarei review
Brother International Rally of Whangarei preview
Frustrating Rally Sweden
Alister to compete in the APRC and Super 2000 World Rally Championship in 2012
Team Prodakar F1 Racing Energy Drink announces the comeback of Alister Mcrae for the Dakar
China Rally Longyou review
China Rally Longyou preview
Rally of Scotland review
Rally of Scotland preview
Rally Hokkaido review
Rally Hokkaido preview
Teaching youths safe driving habits
Inaugrual Scottish Motorsport Festival revs into action next month
Alister hits the podium again!
International Rally of Whangarei preview
Rally de Nouvelle Caledonie preview
International Rally of Queensland review
International Rally of Queensland preview
McRae confident this time around
Q & A with Alister McRae
PROTON drivers delighted with Satria Neo S2000 upgrades
Alister Wins in China!
RACMSA Rally of Scotland Review
PROTON flies in Queensland
Alister McRae starts this week’s International Rally of Queensland
An inspired 2nd Place for Alister in the Rally of Whangarei
Alister ready take on the Kiwis
The Ypres Rally
PROTON to start IRC campaign on Geko Ypres Rally
Japan Rally Report
Facebook Gallery of Alister in Japan
Rally Hokkaido preview
Malaysian Rally review
McRae leads Malaysian Rally at end of Day 1
Atkinson joins McRae at Proton
Alister and Proton Completes Shakedown For Rally Indonesia
Alister McRae to drive Proton S2000 in 2010 IRC and APRC
Alisters Dakar race car features in the latest Car Magazine
Alister McRae takes excellent podium finish on home event
McRae and Proton get off to a great start in Scotland
Busy two weeks for Alister McRae
Alister McRae upbeat following frustration in Indonesia
Rally Indonesia Update
Alister McRae back in manufacturer seat for Rally Indonesia
Podium Finish For Alister at The Targa West
Targa West Update
Alister is confirmed for Rallyday 09 at Castle Combe
Alister to race in the 2009 Targa West Rally
Otago Rally - Blown engine spoils the party...
McRae hot favourite for Otago Rally
The world's fastest driving instructor
Alister Finishes The Dakar
Interview with Alister on
Alister heads to Argentina for the Dakar 2009 with the McRae Enduro Team
Alister takes the 2WD honours at the McRae Stages 2008
The World Champions turn out for Colin - McRae Stages Rally 2008
Alister McRae dominates Targa West
Alister set for rallying ‘at home’ on Targa West
The New McRae Enduro at The Rally Show - Chatsworth
Four McRae Enduro Team led by Dakar expert Chris Leyds
Rally of Lithgow 3rd May 2003
Lithgow gets McRae entry
Mazda wins Targa Tasmania – 2WD Showroom
Mazda3 MPS takes 4WD Scalps at Targa
Mazda Tightens Grip on Targa Title
Mazda’s Targa Team Moves up the Leaderboard
Mazda’s Targa Attack off to a Flying Start
Class 1-2 for Mazda in Targa Prologue
Mazda Unveils Targa Tassie Devils
Mazda’s Star Co-drivers Complete Targa Tussle
McRae and Mazda Combine for Targa Attack
Alister launches Proflex Australasia
McRae legacy continues at The Race of Champions
Jimmy McRae wins Classic Class of MSA British Historic Rally Championship
Dream start ends in disappointment for Alister McRae in New Zealand
Alister third in group N after day one in New Zealand
Extra support boosts Alister McRae’s Rally New Zealand challenge
Alister set to debut new McRae Enduro rally car as Baja GB course car
Alister McRae returns to WRC on Rally New Zealand
Jimmy McRae is the Master
Mcrae Enduro – All New Cross-Country Rally Car
Promising start for Alister in New Zealand
Alister McRae heads south for New Zealand Rally Championship
The Scottish Motorsport Show 2007
Alister McRae launches brand-new WAP site
Encouraging debut for Alister McRae in Toyota Super 2000
Sting in the tail after first stage win for Alister McRae
Encouraging first day for Alister McRae on Wales Rally GB
Alister ready to debut Toyota Super 2000 after successful test
Jimmy McRae wins RAC for Stobart
RED and Toyota South Africa choose Alister McRae as development driver
Alister McRae wins ‘family’ rally
Jimmy McRae Back to New Zealand
One-round rest from Chinese Championship for Alister
Steep learning curve for Jimmy McRae
Hard charging then a soft head at Lurgan Park
A walk in the park for Alister and Jimmy McRae?
Determined drive nets team points in China
Frustrating start in China
New car but hopefully same result in China
Alister wins Zulu Rally
Alister leads Zulu Rally
Alister ready for new challenge
Disappointing Pirelli for Alister
Alister ready for action
Battle of the Champions
Alister takes on Irish Mk11 Escorts
In the company of rallyings foremost family
Alister leads Chinese Rally Championship
Alister joins British challenge in China
Alister enters South Africa's bid for the WRC
Father and son perform at Autosport International
Colin & Alister drive in tribute to Richard Burns
Colin & Alister return to Castle Combe Rally Day
Great disappointment for Alister
Alister given Racing Opportunity
Battle of the Mk 2's
Alister dominates Buggy race
McRae's support Charity Stages
Alister returns to Spanish Rallysprint series
Alister works in Corporate Market
Mechanical failure ends Alister's PWRC Bid
Alister dominates PWRC
Alister leads the way
McRae on course to become world champion
Car improvements boost McRae's title bid
Alister sets up World Championship title challenge
Alister challenges for PWRC lead in Corsica
Alister takes Group N Victory
Positive Result for McRae in Germany
McRae’s asphalt challenge
Q+A - Alister McRae