The moment’s not lost on Max McRae. He gets it. Of course he does. As any McRae would when they step aboard a Subaru rally car for the first time.
A delayed Ford Fiesta R2 means Alister McRae’s 16-year-old son will make his four-wheel drive debut aboard an Impreza WRX on Sunday.
“When people say Subaru, they think of the McRae name and they think of my uncle driving one as fast as he can,” McRae told DirtFish. Uncle is, of course, Colin. Alister’s big brother and 1995 World Rally Champion.
“There probably will be a few people watching this weekend to see how we get on because of the car we’re in,” he added, “so maybe there is a bit of pressure.
“I’m not worried about that; I’m not thinking about the result at all. I just want to get to the finish. It’s my first ever rally in a four-wheel drive car and I want to take plenty of experience from the event.”
Saturday is the grandly titled WA Rally Championship round, the Novus Glass Winvale Park Stages. To those in the know, it’s Bakers Hill. To those really in the know it’s about as close as you can get to some of the old school Rally Australia stages. Helena anybody? That’s just one of the Perth-based classic tests on offer.
The event includes 12 stages and 55 miles. McRae drove it last season but retired his Fiesta ST with a transmission problem.
McRae’s first test in the Impreza comes at the pre-event shakedown later this week.
Originally slated to be running a newer Ford this weekend, McRae explained the thinking behind the Truckwholesale WA-backed, Pirelli-shod Subaru: “The Fiesta was delayed coming from Europe. I think it’s the first time there’s a real positive coming out of a rally car being delayed.
“There wasn’t really anything we could do about the Fiesta, but now we have a solution and I’m not exactly upset about it!
“It might be a bit weird going back to the Fiesta after the power and four-wheel drive in the Subaru, but dad’s told me this is a one-off.”
As well as starting out in a new car, McRae will also start with a new co-driver in Sydney-based Irishman Mac Kierans.
“Mac was recommended by a mate of dad’s,” said Max. “He’s got loads of experience which is what I need. I’m looking forward to it. I’m looking forward to the whole thing.”
A stay in hospital following a bout of appendicitis makes McRae’s first rally of the season even more welcome.
“The recovery is complete now,” he said. “I’ve been in the gym, put some weight on and really pushed the training hard in the off-season. Now, I want to take some confidence and experience from this weekend.”
McRae has tested four-wheel drive cars before – including time aboard one of his unc’s Impreza WRC97s and his father’s own Group A Mitsubishi Lancer.
“I drove the Mitsubishi when I was 11,” he said, “so that was a few years ago now.”
Classic line. Good place to end.