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Tuesday, 14 November, 2000, 18:05 GMT
McRae: Six-million pound speed machine
Colin McRae
McRae has had a tough year, but he will be a contender
Colin McRae was close to inconsolable when he retired from the first event of the season in Monte Carlo, and all his worst fears about the reliability of the Focus seemed to be coming true.

After that, though, Ford pulled itself together, and McRae took two wins and some other strong results to be very much in the battle for the championship going into the final two events.

All that went wrong in Australia, though, with a mechanical failure robbing McRae of the chance of disputing the title on what is undoubtedly his strongest event.

McRae, a three-time winner of the Rally GB, has in the last two seasons ceded his title as Britain's best rally driver to Richard Burns, but he is still arguably the fastest man in the world on his day.

The years when he was known as a blindingly quick driver who could not keep it on the road long enough are gone, and his speed has been matched by a new maturity at times this year.

Broken cheek

But McRae, the world's most expensive rally driver, who is on a deal worth 6 million over two years, still has a tendency to make catastrophic mistakes.

One of these, in Corsica in October, came close to ending his season, and he was lucky to emerge with just a broken cheek from a roll down a 40-foot cliff.

Now fully recovered from that, he is a second favourite to win his home rally this weekend, and is expected to push Richard Burns all the way to the finish - as long as unreliability does not strike.

British Rally Championship

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See also:

10 Sep 00 | Motorsport
13 Oct 00 | Motorsport
14 Nov 00 | Motorsport
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