Coronavirus restrictions have left Max McRae’s Ford Fiesta Rally4 stranded at the Western Australia border, forcing him out of Saturday’s Grimwade Rally.
Missing the latest round of the Western Australian series comes on the back of COVID-19 enforced changes to the Australian Rally Championship.
This month’s Rally Tasmania has been postponed until September, while Victoria’s Gippsland Rally has been canceled altogether.
“It’s not good,” the 17-year-old told DirtFish. “We had a lot of plans all set out for the Australian Rally Championship this season and now we’re just watching events being canceled and postponed.
“When you see the World Rally Championship and the likes of the British Rally Championship opening up and going ahead again, it’s pretty tough.
“But like everything with this pandemic, you have to remember that we’re talking about sport here – there are a lot of people worse off than us in this thing.”
McRae made a stellar start to his ARC campaign, finishing 14th overall on Rally Queensland. He was also second in both the ARC Junior and ARC 2WD categories on his debut at Australian rallying’s highest level.
Once Tasmania was postponed, the decision was taken to bring the Fiesta back to Perth with a view to tackling this weekend’s latest Western Australia round. That was all going to plan when the border was closed – with McRae’s Fiesta Rally4 on the wrong side of it.
“It’s so frustrating to know the car’s just sitting there at the border in the back of the truck,” said McRae.
“OK, it’s still a good two day’s drive away, so even if they opened the border now we wouldn’t get it back in time. The car’s come from Brisbane, it nearly made it.
“All we can do now is sit tight and wait for things to open up again and hope to get out on some Western Australia rounds in the meantime.
“This year’s about seat time, so this is tough, but we’ll get the car back and do what we can.”
In the meantime, McRae will return to the Arise Racing-run Radical series at Wanneroo, north of Perth, for the third round of the circuit-racing category next weekend.
“Racing the Radical is a lot of fun,” he said. “We won the last round and we’re second in the championship – another win would really put us in a good position next weekend.
“The car’s really good. It’s got some very good aero, but when it snaps, it really snaps away and you have to be on top of it to catch it.
“It’s good for the reflexes – something that’s really important when you’re looking for perfection in a rally car.”