|Name:||Colin McRae MBE|
|D.O.B:||05 August 1968|
The most successful competitor in WRC history, Colin McRae has become an icon through his sporting achievements. The former World Rally Champion's name is known throughout the world and he has helped take the sport to a new level, but McRae remains as hungry today as when he emerged on the scene more than 15 years ago.
The son of five-time British Rally Champion Jimmy started out on bikes, winning the Scottish schoolboy motorcross and trials championships at the age of 13. His move to cars came on the small stage, when he went into auto testing at the age of 16 and began to win silverware from start.
He started rallying with a Talbot Sunbeam in 1986 and he was soon taken under the wing of the British Junior Rally team, which gave him a drive in the Swedish round of the WRC in a Nova.
He returned to Sweden with a more serious machine, a Ford Sierra XR 4x4, three years later, and did enough to earn himself a further outing in New Zealand. With these two rallies, he earned a full campaign in Britain at the wheel of the four-wheel-drive Cosworth in 1990.
Second place in the fiercely contested British Rally Championship and sixth on the RAC Rally of Great Britain cemented his status as Britain's brightest rising star. It also caught Subaru's attention, and the team offered him a drive in 1991.
Four wins were enough to secure the British title, but Subaru wanted more. The following season, McRae emphatically delivered. He took victory at every round of the British Rally Championship and proved that he could be kept off the world stage no longer. In 1993 he got his chance at a full works WRC drive, and the rest is history.
At the New Zealand rally, McRae took his first WRC win and continued to threaten in other events. His aggressive style always electrified the fans, even if a few of his old cars didn't like it, and every team wanted the Scottish youngster.
1994 brought two victories in the WRC, but 1995 was to be his year. McRae proved more than a match for anything anyone could throw at him and emerged with the World Rally Championship after taking victory at his home rally for the second year in succession.
Second place the following season was all that could realistically be expected from the package and he achieved that thanks to sterling victories in the Acropolis, San Remo and Catalunya rallies. In honour of his services to the sport and British motorsport, McRae was named a Member of the British Empire (MBE) the year after his World Championship triumph.
Despite winning in five events in 1997, Colin lost out in the final charge for the title when Tommi Makinen kept his cool in the final stages of the title chase. Had his Subaru proved reliable, few doubt he would have added to his World Championship-winning record.
1998 brought three more wins and third in the World Rally Championship, but Colin was already looking forward to a new challenge. He left Subaru at the end of the year in order to develop Ford's new Focus into a winner.
The Focus proved one of the most impressive all-new cars in recent years. McRae won in Kenya and Portugal in its debut season, but suffered eight retirements and a brace of bad accidents during the course of the season.
2000 brought victories in Spain and Greece, but problems with the car and a few mistakes put him out of the championship running and back into fourth in the final reckoning.
In the following two seasons he won in Greece twice, and he went on win his 25th WRC event in Kenya. He became the first driver to do this since the WRC's inception and hence can stake a claim to being the most successful driver in World Rally Championship history.
After a split with Ford, McRae carefully weighed up his options before joining what he believes is the team to break Peugeot's stranglehold on the World Rally Championship. Citroen have beaten the best on tarmac, now the French marque is determined to win the overall title and prove its cars are the best in the world.
By signing Colin Citroen proved its intent to win at the highest level,
and the Scot has now put his faith in the French manufacturer and will
lead the charge as hard as ever.