Mon 15 May 2023

From online to the starting line: McRae all set for Junior ERC debut

Max McRae will begin his bid for FIA Junior ERC Championship glory armed with plenty of online knowledge of the type of terrain he’ll encounter on ORLEN 79th Rally Poland later this week (19 - 21 May).

The 18-year-old turned to YouTube to get ready for the high-speed gravel contest, round one of the six-event Junior ERC, which is supported by Hankook, the championship’s official tyre partner.

McRae, the grandson of Jimmy McRae, son of Alister McRae and nephew of the late Colin McRae, said: “I’ve watched just about as much Rally Poland content as I can find on YouTube and I don’t really remember seeing the cars using the bottom half of the gearbox at all, I like that, the speed is why we do this sport.

“With really quick rallies like this one, you tend to find the drivers can be fairly close – without the slower junctions, it can be harder to make a big difference under braking and finding traction coming out of the corners. On this event, we’re all going to be running at around the same speed – that means we can expect the gaps to be measured in tenths of seconds. The battle will be as big as I’m sure it will be close and super-exciting.”

Driving an Opel Corsa Rally4 run by The Racing Factory, McRae is one of 15 drivers lining up for Junior ERC action in 2023.

“I’m so excited,” said McRae. “I moved over from Australia last month with one aim: to compete in the ERC and to take my career to the next level. I’m really happy to be doing that with a team like The Racing Factory – the commitment Aloísio [Monteiro, CEO] and his team have shown in getting everything ready in a fairly tight timeframe is amazing.”

McRae continued: “You only have to look at the entry list for this week to see there’s a huge number of entries and a lot of class drivers in there. The competition is going to be fierce for the whole weekend. I’m stoked to be here and getting ready to go over the ramp.”

Although McRae won’t get to sample his Corsa until official testing on Wednesday, he does have experience of working with his Portuguese team following an outing on the Portuguese championship Rali Terras d’Aboboreira last month, albeit aboard a Peugeot 208 Rally4.

“I’m going to Poland with good confidence in the team and the car,” he said. “Driving the Peugeot on the event in Portugal gave me some good seat time – the 208 is a very similar car [to the Corsa] and the feeling was really good.”

Starts: Thursday, July 18, 2024 at 4:31:00 AM
Starts: Friday, July 26, 2024 at 7:00:00 AM
Starts: Saturday, July 27, 2024 at 6:00:00 AM