Colin McRae was made to drive rally cars. He had an astonishing ability to fire a car between the trees faster than anybody else and it was that speed, allied to outrageous bravery, which enabled him to win 25 world rallies.
McRae’s talents were obvious on the British circuit from the minute he stepped aboard a battered Talbot Sunbeam. He continued to flatten his learning curve in a Vauxhall Nova and Ford Sierra Cosworths and when he finished sixth on the 1990 RAC Rally, Subaru signed him up.
Two British titles followed and McRae began to make an impression with a limited programme of world events. Such was the manner of the man that he rolled his Legacy four times in the 1992 1000 Lakes Rally in Finland but still finished eighth! McRae’s speed was breathtaking and his first WRC win came in New Zealand in 1993.
The Impreza replaced the Legacy and this was McRae’s car. He won 15 times in the various guises of Impreza from 1994 to 1998, including an emotional first win at home in Britain in 1994 and an even more emotional first title there 12 months later after a tight and awkward battle with team-mate Carlos Sainz.
With McRae topping the world at just 27, the Scot was tipped for plenty more titles but those wins didn’t follow.
Despite winning five rallies in 1997, he missed out to Tommi Mäkinen by one point. He joined Ford in 1999 and came close to the title in 2001 but crashed his Focus heavily on the Rally GB decider.
He was the complete driver and a global superstar, but the sport was rocked on 15 September 2007, when McRae, his son Johnny and two family friends were killed in a helicopter crash.