Max McRae has set his sights on a 2023 Junior World Rally Championship campaign after testing an M-Sport Ford Fiesta Rally3 for the first time in Poland last week.
The 18-year-old drove the car for a day on asphalt before visiting M-Sport Poland’s impressive Kraków premises, where the Fiesta Rally3 is developed and built.
“That’s a seriously impressive car,” McRae said.
“You have this picture in your mind of what the car’s going to be like and how it will perform. I thought I had a pretty good idea, but it was even better than I thought it was going to be.
“There’s more power, more torque than the Fiesta Rally4 and, with it being four-wheel-drive, there’s no wheelspin off the line. What I really like is that it’s a car you have to get in and really drive – when you work that bit harder, the car comes alive and delivers so much. I was really impressed.
“We’ve got 245bhp and around 400Nm of torque; you really notice the difference in how quickly you get up to fifth gear in this car over the Rally4. It just keeps on pulling.”
Max completed close to 160 kilometers (100 miles) and worked on numerous setup changes through the day.
“The M-Sport Poland team was amazing,” he said.
“We took the base setup and then made quite a few changes across the car, just to see how it would react and how it would feel to drive.
“It was great and really cool to spend the day working with a team like that. I want to say a big thank you to everybody there for making so much time for me.
“It’s not hard to see how the car’s so good when you go to the factory – it’s like Dovenby Hall only a little bit smaller. But so impressive, it’s a fantastic facility.”
So, to next season…
“Yeah, Juniors,” said Max.
“Like you can imagine, I was pretty keen to do JWRC anyway, but now I’ve driven the car I just know that’s where I’ve got to be. The chance to drive that car on rounds of the World Rally Championship is totally the way to go and that’s what we’re working really hard towards now.
“To move from rallying in Australia to going to the world championship is a step up in budget, but it’s also an incredible opportunity to take experience of rallying at the highest level on surfaces and events like the snow in Sweden, the Tarmac in Croatia and then rough and smooth fast gravel in places like Sardinia and Estonia.
“I don’t know what the calendar will be for next year, but events like that are the dream and a special way to take experience.”
For now, Max’s focus returns down under for the Gippsland Rally next weekend (August 27/28). He will drive his usual Maximum Motorsport Subaru Impreza WRX on Victoria’s round of the Motorsport Australia Rally Championship.