Some of the greatest names in world rallying — including five former world champs Hannu Mikkola, Ari Vatanen, Bjorn Waldegard Stig Blomqvist, and Scot Louise-Aitken Walker — celebrated the life of Colin McRae by driving two-wheel-drive MkII Ford Escorts in the Perth-based Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally.
Watched by around 35,000 spectators, a total of 15 world class drivers, which also included Jimmy and Alister McRae, as well as Malcolm Wilson and Kris Meeke, contested what was the final round of the County Saab Scottish Rally Championship.
“Colin was not only one of the world’s best drivers, he was also a terrific person. Someone who lived life to the full,” Vatanen, who contested the Dakar Rally with the former world champ for Nissan, said yesterday.
“He is very sadly missed, of course, but I would love to think he would have been pleased we have chosen to pay our respects to him by driving the MkII Escorts he loved so much.”
The field of 140, which also included four British, three American and six Scottish champions, was praised by Colin’s younger brother, former British champ Alister.
The event, organised by Coltness Car Club and which McRae was a staunch member of, paid tribute to the driver who died in a helicopter crash last September and which also claimed the lives of his son Johnny and two family friends.
And with Inverness veteran Jimmy Girvan already crowned Scottish champ, the rally, which included five of the most evocative stages in British rallying — including three of Colin’s favourites at Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty — was won by Cumbria’s Matthew Wilson. Alister McRae, co-driven by Colin’s close friend Campbell Roy, was fourth.
Elgin’s Steven Clark claimed the final principal title to be concluded in the Scottish Championship when he won the GpN title in his 11-year-old Mitsubishi Evo IV.