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R.I.P Colin McRae
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- Police confirmed that they believed rally champion Colin McRae was killed with his son in a helicopter crash.
Strathclyde Police released the names of the four people they thought were on board the crashed aircraft on Saturday.
Mr McRae, 39, his son Johnny, 5, his friend Ben Porcelli, 6, and family friend Graeme Duncan, 37, were all thought to be on board.
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McRae 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 McRae 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 McRae 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, McRae 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, McRae 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 two turns to go, McRae 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
7 Comments 305 weeks
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well thats two gone richard burns and colin mcrae . they were both brilliant in there own ways and god had to go and spoil it XXXxxxXXXxxx0 Replies 279 weeks
Growing up, I had two heroes.2 Replies 305 weeks
Colin McRae and Richard Burns.
My heroes are gone.
Rest in peace Colin, Johnny, Graeme and Ben.
My thoughts are with your wife, little girl, Alistair and Jimmy.
An inspiration, a hero, a champion.
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