Colin McRae

Colin McRae, MBE (born in Lanark, August 5, 1968) is a Scottish former World Rally Championship driver, the son of five-time British Rally Champion, Jimmy McRae.

He won the world driver's title in 1995, was championship runner-up in 1996, 1997 and 2001, and third in 1998. He helped Subaru to the Manufacturers' title in 1995, 1996 and 1997, and Citroën in 2003. He was awarded the title of MBE (Member of the British Empire) by Queen Elizabeth II in 1996.

Colin began his rally career in 1986, piloting a Talbot Sunbeam. A regular competitor on Scottish Rally Championship events, he was soon making a name for himself with his speed and exciting style of driving. His driving style drew many comparisons to Ari Vatanen, the famous Finnish rally driver who Colin had always idolised. He soon progressed to a Vauxhall Nova, and then onto a Ford Sierra XR 4x4. His first WRC exposure was in the 1987 Swedish Rally behind the wheel of his Nova, and again in 1989, driving the Sierra and finishing 15th overall. Later in '89, he finished 5th overall at Rally New Zealand in a rear wheel drive Sierra Cosworth. 1991 saw Colin join Prodrive Subaru for the British Rally Championship. He was twice the British champion in 1991 and 1992, soon graduating to 'works' status for the factory team.

McRae won his first WRC rally in 1993, piloting the Prodrive-built Subaru Legacy in the Rally New Zealand, before aiding Subaru to a three-year sweep of titles, including one for himself in 1995 after a thrilling final round duel on his home event, with team-mate and double world champion Carlos Sainz. He later also won the 1998 Race of Champions.

After several years of varying success, Colin switched to the M-Sport Ford team in 1999, behind the wheel of the new Ford Focus WRC rally car. This move was rewarded with two quickfire wins at the Safari Rally and Rally Portugal. However he was to struggle with reliability woes for much of the rest of that season, although later he did narrowly miss out on a second driver's title with the M-Sport operation in 2001.

With victory on the Safari Rally in 2002, McRae made the record books as a driver with most event wins in the World Rally Championship. Erstwhile 2003 Citroën team-mates Spaniard Carlos Sainz and Frenchman Sébastien Loeb are among those to have since overtaken him.

In 2003, McRae decided to part ways with Ford and sign with the promising Citroën team. However, the Scotsman could only muster seventh in the title race, with no rally victories. When hopes for a second stint at Subaru evaporated — the Japanese marque signed young talent Mikko Hirvonen to partner 2003 World Champion Petter Solberg — he was subsequently left on the sidelines for 2004.

As of 2006, he had participated in 146 WRC events, and been team mates of many drivers including Carlos Sainz, Richard Burns, Ari Vatanen, and Sebastien Loeb.

Although not officially retired, McRae opted to take some time off from WRC and pursue other interests during his 'gap year', such as piloting a Nissan truck in the Paris Dakar Rally. He also contested the 24 Hours of Le Mans.

After his year-long absence from the sport in 2004, McRae made his return in a works Škoda Fabia WRC on the following season's Wales Rally GB, albeit on a strictly one-off basis. He netted seventh place in a car widely believed uncompetitive in WRC circles. However, his hard-fought result was overshadowed by the tragic death of fellow British competitor Michael Park. Then came his bid for second place on his return in Australia, dashed by clutch woes three stages from the finish. Meanwhile, McRae was believed to be on the lookout for the chance of a full-time return to the sport for 2006, following the Škoda works team's withdrawal from the WRC.

On August 5, 2006, Colin and co-driver Nicky Grist competed for Subaru in the first live televised American rally in Los Angeles as part of the X-Games. With 2 turns to go, Colin spectacularly flipped his Subaru Impreza, heavily damaging the front bumper and all but destroying the left front tyre. The car rolled back upright and he continued the race, finishing second.

In October 2006 it was furthermore announced that the pairing would serve as replacement for defending champion (and 2003 team-mate) Sébastien Loeb in the Kronos Citroen team for the Rally of Turkey, in light of the Frenchman breaking his arm in a bicycle accident. A final-stage alternator problem consigned them to a final placing outside the top ten. McRae's hopes for participation in the outstanding events in the 2006 calendar were subsequently unfulfilled.

McRae moved to the principality of Monaco in 1995, partly through his friendship with David Coulthard. However, as his young family has grown up, he has spent more time back at his home in Lanarkshire - accepting the higher tax liability of living in Scotland. McRae is married to Alison, and has two children, Hollie and Johnny.

His brother, Alister, is also a professional rally driver and has enjoyed some success, including winning the British Rally Championship in 1995. His sister is a doctor in the University Hospital in County Durham who also enjoys rally driving.

The other key McRae association is that of the world of computer games. Codemasters first released its Colin McRae Rally title in 1998, while version 2 was released in the year 2000 on Sony's PlayStation and PC, later ported to the Game Boy Advance in 2002. A third version found a wide audience on the PC and Xbox. Versions 04 and 2005 arrived in 2004, bringing an extremely enticing rally driving experience to gamers on all platforms, the latter also being ported to Sony's PSP and Nokia's N-Gage. Colin McRae Dirt was the next installment as the title for the next generation of the series. Codemasters confirmed the game will launch for the PC, Xbox 360 (June 20th) and later on PlayStation 3 (September 4th), in 2007. A special edition for mobile phones will also be available from Codemasters Mobile.Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.2 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, with no Front-Cover Texts, and with no Back-Cover Texts.
Virtual Magic is a human knowledge database blog. Text Based On Information From Wikipedia, Under The GNU Free Documentation License. Copyright (c) 2007 Virtual Magic. Permission is granted to copy, distribute and/or modify this document under the terms of the GNU Free Documentation License, Version 1.1 or any later version published by the Free Software Foundation; with no Invariant Sections, no Front-Cover Texts and no Back-Cover Texts. A copy of the license is included in the section entitled "GNU Free Documentation License".

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