WRC star Kris Meeke and Jimmy McRae were the first two drivers through the opening stage of the McRae Rally Challenge sponsored by Beatson’s Building Supplies, signaling the start of this special celebratory Rally.
Meeke, behind the wheel of his WRC Citroen Xsara in McRae colours; impressively blazed his way through the opening stage with showmanship very much part of his game plan, completing donuts midway through the stage for gathered fans.
“I’ve very grateful to Citroen for allowing me to use this car; it’s an important model and resides permanently in the Citroen museum. So with that in mind, this weekend is very much about having fun and paying tribute to Colin.
“As everyone knows, he played a vital role in my Rally career, and it’s safe to say that l wouldn’t be where l am today without him.”
Following the opening run, Meeke was interviewed by KHFM lead commentator Stuart Weir and had this to say, whilst sporting a massive grin:
“That was amazing, to experience that car on this very special day. As l said l’m here for some fun but that car is… proper. It is proper bit of kit.”
The McRae connection continued as Alister McRae took to the track as the opening competitor, and with his eye firmly on the McRae Rally Challenge title powered his Proton Satria to a 2 second lead by the conclusion of the 2nd stage. Knockhill’s own Gordon Shedden, competing in his first-ever rally had this to say as he approached the stage start:
“I’ve never sat in a Rally car in my life, but if there was one Rally l was going to do, then this would be it. It’s a great occasion to celebrate the WRC title win of Colin and l’m very much looking forward to the occasion whilst having a bit of fun along the way.
As the first dozen or so competitors headed for the start line, to-a-man their primary aim for the weekend was to pay their own personal tributes to McRae by participating and competing in this invitational event. The opening day of the event also saw some iconic cars take to the track; including special Group B machinery, Ford and Subaru Owners’ Club cars, terry Grant stunt shows and of course a priceless collection of Colin’s own cars – lead by the Subaru Impreza that McRae powered to the World title 20 years ago.
With more sensational action planned for tomorrow, Knockhill prepares for an influx of Rally fans from up and down the country.
Tickets for the event can be booked online via the Knockhill website (until midnight tonight); alternatively tickets will also be available at the gate throughout Sunday.