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Wednesday, March 24, 1999 Published at 13:17 GMT


McRae earns F1 chance

McRae's Ford Focus has had a successful start to the season

Former world rally champion Colin McRae is to be offered the chance to test drive for Formula One team Stewart-Ford.

Martin Whitaker, Ford's director of European motor sport, has been impressed by McRae's performances in the company's new Focus car on the world rally circuit and believes he could make the grand prix grade.

"We will give him a test later this year and if he's quick enough...well, let's wait and see. The test is not for fun."

"Colin is on a par with Michael Schumacher. They both have the same mystique and they are both good in all conditions.

"In fact, Colin is streets ahead of Formula One drivers in terms of being a complete driver. You could put him in any car and he would be quick, a Formula One car included."

McRae, who is currently setting the pace in the Rally of Portugal, is still weighing up the offer of a grand prix test.

"To drive in Formula One is something I have been thinking about for quite a while," said the Scottish former world rally champion.

"If I do the test and I am competitive then I must consider what I might be getting into. If I am committed there is no reason why I couldn't drive in Formula One."

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