Max McRae stars on classic ex-WRC roads

Class podium for teenage McRae on latest outing

Max McRae

The McRae name is known and loved in Western Australia.

It’s hardly surprising: Alister starred seven times on the Perth-based World Rally Championship event his brother Colin won in 1997.

Further evidence of why the Scotsmen are popular down under can be found by typing the words: Colin, McRae, Bunnings and jumps into your favourite search engine.

On Sunday, Max McRae introduced rallying’s most famous name to a new generation of fans. Running the same roads his father and uncle competed on two decades ago, the 16-year-old stormed to an outstanding third in class and 11th overall on the Making Smoking History Rally.

Ford Fiesta ST driver McRae completed what he reckoned was his best day ever in a car with the award for first rookie home after close to 100 miles of competition.

The Collie-based event used roads made famous when the nation’s WRC round resided on Australia’s west coast between 1989 and 2006. Stages like Harvey Weir, Brunswick and the 20-mile Wellington Dam were all laid before the youngest member of the McRae dynasty on Sunday.

“It was a great day,” McRae told DirtFish. “I really enjoyed the event and the longer format.

“Normally this event’s a two-day round of the Australian Championship, but because it was only a WA round – because of coronavirus – they packed it all into a day.

“It was pretty challenging, mentally and physically, it was so much longer than anything I’ve done before, but it’s what I’ve got to get used to.”

After a transmission failure at the WA Bakers Hill Sprint, McRae was happy to bring his 1600cc Fiesta to the finish without any issues.

“The car ran really well,” he said. “We had no problems with it, so it looks like we’ve got everything sorted now.

“I felt I took a step with the pace and to finish third in two-wheel drive among some pretty big Escorts is great.

“This has definitely been the best result and performance from me in a car.

“The key thing was to get the notes right and Bill [Hayes, co-driver] and I did that. We made some small changes to distances and put in a couple of ‘don’t cuts’ on the long stage, but otherwise it was good.

“It was the time through the second run of Wellington Dam that really got us on the podium.

“The stages were fantastic and, like I said, everything just went to plan.”

Words:David Evans