Following the tragic death of Colin McRae in September, The Race of Champions can today announce that his brother, Alister, will take his place in the December event to honour the 1995 World Rally Champion. Colin was one of the first to sign...
Following the tragic death of Colin McRae in September, The Race of Champions can today announce that his brother, Alister, will take his place in the December event to honour the 1995 World Rally Champion.
Colin was one of the first to sign up for The Race of Champions 2007, which will see the world's greatest drivers compete head-to-head in a "champion of champions" decider at London's Wembley Stadium.
One of the most regular ROC drivers, Colin was a firm favourite with the crowd thanks to his spectacular driving style, making him a very popular winner in 1998. Now Alister hopes to rekindle those memories when he gets behind the wheel in front of the expected 80,000 sell-out crowd.
"It will be difficult to be there but when Colin competed he always put on a good show," said Alister, who was the British Rally Champion in 1995. "It was one of the things the fans loved about him. As far as Colin was concerned, it was about driving as quick as possible and being spectacular. Being there in his place will be difficult for me but hopefully we will do him proud."
Alister has a great record in The Race of Champions, getting all the way to the final in 1998 where he met Colin for a rally show-down. The two drivers were tied with one win each in the best-of-three decider before Colin's greater experience in a four-wheel-drive rally car won the day.
Since Alister's last appearance, The Race of Champions' format has changed to incorporate drivers from all motorsport genres rather than just rally drivers. Some of the confirmed stars for 2007 include Michael Schumacher, Jenson Button, Heikki Kovalainen and David Coulthard, who Alister will partner in Team F1 Racing Scotland for the ROC Nations Cup.
"Being against some of the best guys in the world is a great opportunity," said Alister, whose last outing in a rally car was earlier this year during the New Zealand round of the WRC. "It's supposed to be an end of year bit of fun, but everyone wants to win!
"I know Colin wouldn't want me sitting about and dwelling on things. He has a reputation of going very well at The Race of Champions so it's an honour to race for him. It's a great event; a really good show. It's good for the spectators and if they enjoy it so do the drivers."
As well as Alister's participation, ROC organisers are planning further tributes to one of the sport's greatest legends. "Losing Colin was a tragedy," said Fredrik Johnsson, President of event organisers IMP, who says Colin participated in many ROC events in its 20-year history. "Colin was one of the sport's best-loved competitors and a very good friend so we want to pay tribute to him at Wembley Stadium, as does the international line up of drivers and all the British fans."
Colin McRae died along with his son, Johnny, and two family friends when the helicopter he was piloting came down on 15 September 2007 within sight of his Scottish home.