Thu 06 Jul 2023

Level playing field boosts McRae’s Junior ERC bid

Max McRae believes the all-new nature of BAUHAUS Royal Rally of Scandinavia will make for an even more exciting battle for FIA Junior ERC Championship honours.

Based in Karlstad in Sweden’s Värmland, the event’s high-speed gravel stages are almost entirely untried, even in the summer, which McRae believes will create a level playing field for the 16-strong, Hankook-equipped Junior ERC contenders.

“It was really good to see [in Latvia] on the first passes of new stages we’re right on the pace and quicker than a lot of the guys that were a lot quicker than us in Poland,” the 19-year-old Scot said. “It really showed how much our pacenotes are improving each rally and that’s good to see. It will be an even playing field [in Sweden] and we can definitely get a good result if everything goes to plan.”

McRae, nephew of the late Colin McRae, could have claimed top Junior ERC honours on Tet Rally Liepāja, the previous round last month, only for a one-minute time penalty to drop him to fifth overall while he was leading.

“The confidence is strong especially on the first runs,” McRae said. “I don’t have much experience of rallying in general because I started during [the global health pandemic] and just making notes has been a massive, massive improvement since [the opening Junior ERC round in] Poland. I feel I can really attack and commit to everything on the first run whereas in Poland I was a bit cautious. It’s really good to see the progression, especially in such a high-competition championship. It definitely shows I’m doing something right.”

Colin’s Crest holds special appeal to McRae Jr
The importance of the Colin’s Crest jump won’t be lost on Max McRae. It features on the 9.01-kilometre Colins stage, a reworked and renamed version of the famous Vargåsen test, which will count as the Power Stage when it’s run for a second time on Saturday.

Colin’s Crest traditionally attracted thousands of fans when it was used in the FIA World Rally Championship.

“Using Colin’s Crest will be really cool, we’ll put our head high for that one,” said McRae, whose father Alister will be accompanying him in Sweden and also taking part in the Rally Legends demonstration event. “Sweden was one of dad’s favourite events when it was in snow.”

Eyvind Brynildsen’s 45-metre jump in a Ford Fiesta R5 achieved in 2016 remains the Colin’s Crest record.

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