McRae and Meeke win at Knockhill 17 | 05 | 2015

    WHILE ALISTER McRAE (pictured) powered to victory in the first ever Colin McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill, there was no doubting the man who stole the hearts of the thousands of spectators who attended the weekend was Kris Meeke.

    The Northern Irishman, fresh from his first-even World Rally Championship win in Argentina, drove Colin McRae’s former Citroen Xsara works rally car

    “It’s been a very special weekend," Meeke admitted. "Number one, it was great to remember and commemorate Colin, and the 20th anniversary of his title. So many people turned out.

    "And, I have to say a huge thank-you to Citroen Racing for supplying Colin’s Xsara WRC; what a mega, mega car to drive."

    Meeke headed straight from Knockhill to Lisbon where he tackles Rally Portugal on May 21-24.

    There were miles of smiles at the end of the two-day event — organised in conjunction with the Coltness Car Club — held at the Fife based motor racing complex to commemorate the 20th anniversary of Colin McRae and Derek Ringer’s World Rally Championship title victory, the first ever for a UK crew.

    Supported by Beatsons’ Building Supplies and EventScotland, the event provided a fitting tribute, much appreciated by the thousands of fans who poured into Knockhill.

    Related: Meeke to lead McRae salute

    This was an event where memories were re-visited and new memories made, so it was quite appropriate that Alistair McRae won the event outright from Lancastrian rising star Aaron Newby.

    Going into the final stage McRae, driving his Proton Satria, held a slender nine-second lead over Newby.

    “I did get one fright,” Alister admitted afterwards. “We came over a brow in the rain and the car stepped out at the back dragging me off the road into the mud, but I spotted a gap in the trees, went through that, and popped back out on to the stage.”

    As for Newby: “I’m just pleased to have finished. Competing in this event amongst all these names and these cars was just awesome. To come away with second place was more than I could have hoped for.”

    McRae's win was celebrated too by dad, five-times British rally champ, Jimmy.

    “Alister had to win, otherwise l’d have kicked his a**e," the veteran smiled. "“It’s been a fantastic event though, we are all really overwhelmed by the lengths that people have gone to to be part of this event; and also, by the number of fans who turned up over the course of the weekend.”

    Alison McRae echoed Jimmy’s sentiments by saying:

    “It’s been a fabulous tribute to Colin and I was just saying on the way here today, that it is staggering the amount of people’s lives that Colin has touched.”

    And while Mull's John MacCrone brought his Ford Fiesta R5 home in sixth place, 2012 British Touring Car champ Gordon Shedden — co-driven by Uddingston's Stuart Loudon in a Ford Escort MkII—finished ninth overall on his first-ever rally.

    Colin McRae Rally Challenge — Result (Top 10):

    1. Alister McRae / Craig Ritchie,  Proton Satria,  32 minutes 24 seconds;

    2. Aaron Newby / Paula Swinscoe,  Subaru Impreza,  33:36;

    3. John Rintoul / Ross Hynd,  Hyundai Accent WRC,  33:37;

    4. John Paterson / Craig Wallace,  Ford Escort II,  33:38;

5. Quintin Milne / Stephen O’Hanlon,  Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9,  33:47;

    6. John MacCrone / Alasdair MacCrone,  Ford Fiesta R5,  33:56;

    7. Tom Morris / Ashleigh Morris, MG Metro 6R4, 34:05;

    8. Ian Paterson / Helen Brown,  Subaru Impreza N10,  34:19;

    9. Gordon Shedden / Stuart Loudon, Ford Escort, 34:25;

10. Alan Kirkaldy / Garry Muir,  Ford Escort,  34:27.

    Photo by Power Images

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    Jim McGill


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