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Last Updated: Saturday, 15 September 2007, 23:47 GMT 00:47 UK
Rallying legend's 30-year career
Colin McRae in rally car
Colin McRae is thought of as a Scottish sporting legend
Former World Rally champion Colin McRae was one of the most famous names in Scottish sport and thought of as a legend on the racing circuit.

During a distinguished 30-year career he notched up 25 wins, and in 1995 he became the first British World Champion as well as the youngest.

The 39-year-old father-of two's first major win was as a Scottish Junior Scrambling championship in 1980.

His achievements were recognised by the Queen with an MBE in 1996.

The son of five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy McRae, he was also qualified as a helicopter pilot.

Qualified plumber

McRae's fascination with cars began at the age of two and by the time he was seven he was on motorbikes, competing in trials within five years, winning junior and intermediate championships by the age of 14.

He swapped his trial bike for an autotest car and took part in his first rally in 1985.

His debut was on the Kames Stages in Scotland and, despite dropping off the side of the road, he finished 14th overall and first in class in his first event.

Colin McRae in his Ford Focus  in 1999
McRae is the youngest driver to become World Rally champion

He joined the family heating and plumbing business, although he spent more time in the garage helping to maintain the company vans.

He became British champion in 1991 and 1992 and was also world championship runner-up in 1996, 1997 and 2001, taking third place on the podium in 1998.

McRae helped Subaru to the Manufacturers' title three times in the 1990s and for CitroŽn in 2003.

It was driving a Subaru he won his world title in 1995.

Despite departing from the World Rally Championship in 2004, the lure of two of the rallying world's most famous events - the Dakar desert rally and the Le Mans 24-hour endurance race - was too much to ignore.

During his first attempts at the Dakar rally he set two fastest stage times and ran third overall before transmission problems left him stranded in the desert for two days.

Computer game

At Le Mans, sharing a Ferrari 550 Maranello with Rickard Rydell and Darren Turner, the trio achieved a podium finish.

McRae took part in his final rally in Turkey last year.

His name has been lent to one of the most successful sports computer game franchises, the latest version of which is called DiRT.

However, speaking on his own website, he said: "I'm not really a fan of computers. Yes, I can play 'DiRT' on my X-Box 360 and I can just about access the Internet, but as for the rest of it, much of it is a complete mystery to me."

Born in Lanark, McRae shared his time between his home there and Monaco.

He leaves a wife, Alison, and a daughter Hollie. His son Johnny also died in the crash.

The McRae Stages Rally is due to take place on 29 September.


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