It had to happen. It was always going to happen. When it did, the McRae family was ready.
Colin McRae was the youngest ever World Rally champion for more than 27 years. As soon as the world caught a glimpse of Kalle Rovanperä’s pace, that record was under threat. In New Zealand earlier this month, Rovanperä took McRae’s mantle.
According to Colin’s daughter, Hollie McRae, it couldn’t have gone to a more deserving driver.
She told DirtFish: “I feel as though the family is all under the same impression in that dad’s record could not have gone to a better person. You can see from Rallylegend at the weekend that Kalle drives the car with so much passion and has so much skill in such a young person.
“If anybody had to break dad’s record, we would rather it was him [Rovanperä].
“We were out on the stage watching Kalle chasing his father Harri,” McRae added. “Every time they came around he was getting closer and closer until he was right on his tail. He’s a great talent and it’s really fitting that he’s taken over from dad as the youngest champion.”
The McRae family gifted Rovanperä a pair of Colin’s driving boots from the 1995 season during the San Marino event.
“It was actually Carlo [Boroli, Best Impreza owner] who had the idea to do something like this. We talked about it and then my mom went off and hunted through my dad’s bits and bobs – she came back with some driving boots which were a perfect fit.
“It was really nice when we handed them to Kalle. I’d been hosting the talk show element of Rallylegend and we were talking to Harri [Rovanperä] and my gramps [Jimmy McRae]. They were both talking about what it’s like to be a father and have your son come into the sport and win the championship. It was really nice. Then, at the end, we called Kalle up and made the presentation. It was a lovely thing to be involved in.
“After that, he said a few words and seemed really pleased. He asked to meet my mom so he could talk to her – she was really touched. It was a lovely surprise for him.”
Hollie is working with Boroli on his Best Impreza project this season, hence her presence at Rallylegend.
“It’s a really cool project,” she said. “Carlo is recreating eight Group A Subaru Imprezas – one for each of dad’s WRC wins in the Impreza 555. The first car was delivered at the McRae Rally Challenge in Scotland earlier this year and the second was handed over in San Marino this weekend.
“The cars are amazing, they’re beautiful. I spent most of my weekend in the Best Impreza booth and the number of people who came and told me their stories about the cars and how much dad meant to them and their own Subaru story. It was amazing.”