Colin Steele McRae OBE has been gone now for almost eight years, yet the legacy left behind by the enigmatic Scotsman truly endures. Remember when GRR launched its Flat-Out and Fearless… series in celebration of this year’s Festival of Speed theme? The first video we chose to share back in November of last year featured McRae and co-driver Nicky Grist attacking (and they really did attack…) the infamous Bunnings jumps on Rally Australia.
Although most famous for his escapades in a Subaru Impreza and latterly a Ford Focus (and one year in a Citroen), here we see him at the wheel of a Metro 6R4 on the Donegal International Rally in 2006. There were two classes of cars: International Class for contemporary machinery like Mitsubishi Lancer WRCs, Ford Focus WRCs and the like, and National Class for 6R4s, Mk2 Escorts and the odd Escort Cosworth and older Subaru Imprezas. McRae then was in the National Class, but this didn’t stop him from posting stage times early on that would have seen him near the head of the International field. All this despite reportedly only being there ‘for fun’…
It wasn’t all plain sailing though. At 4:00 we see McRae lose control of the 6R4 on a narrow lane and miraculously manage to slide sideways down an escape road at frightening speed without hitting anything, after which the pair in the car have a swift giggle before pressing on. Great stuff. By the end McRae and Grist come home almost seven and a half minutes ahead of the car in second place. In fact, so rapid had they been that their time would have put them in eighth place in the International category.
Within a year McRae’s majestic talent would be lost forever, but images like the one of him here laughing away at the wheel of a legendary rally car are how all his fans will remember him.