Max McRae ends first year in rallying on a high

Australia's Safari Darling Rally capped off a strong first half-season in a rally car


Max McRae rounded out his first season – or half-season – in rallying with his best result to date, finishing sixth overall on the Safari Darling Rally on Saturday.

The 16-year-old’s result was good enough for second in the two-wheel-drive class, a result which bagged him second in class in the Western Australian Championship.

“I didn’t expect this from my first season,” McRae told DirtFish. “When I started my first ever gravel rally in July, I didn’t know where my pace would be. I’m really pleased with the way things have gone. Sixth overall is a great result.”

Saturday’s Jarrahdale-based event was McRae’s first ever blind rally, with co-driver Bill Hayes calling junctions from the roadbook rather than the much more detailed pacenotes used on the majority of rallies.

Ahead of the event, McRae’s five-time British Rally Champion grandad Jimmy McRae had offered him plenty of advice. Max took it.

“Gramps was right,” said the Ford Fiesta ST driver. “I drove much more on sight and drove with a bit less speed and commitment.

“I learned so much through the day and that’s definitely going to help with the way I make notes – you approach the stages in a different way [on a blind rally], you see everything and, like I said, this will help making the notes and committing to them in the future. It was pretty exciting with the notes at times!

“Honestly, it’s been awesome and such a positive way to finish 2020. A big thanks to Bill, my co-driver. Second two-wheel drive in the state championship is a great way to end the year.”

Words:David Evans

Photos:Alister McRae Motorsport