Briton McRae, the younger brother of rallying legend Colin - a former New Zealand winner - had claimed a fastest stage time in the Proton Satria-Neo S2000 he was sharing with Australian co-driver Bill Hayes before he stopped with a mechanical fault while on course for a strong haul of SWRC points.
“It was great to be back on these roads again,” said McRae. “My team-mate P-G [Andersson] and I both felt pretty happy ahead of the event. The car felt good from the start, but we then had a problem with the wiring loom, which stopped the car. The team fixed the issue and we were able to run fastest in SWRC before a clutch-release bearing failed today. It was a little bit frustrating, because everything was feeling so good with the car, it had all looked pretty promising.”
Andersson finished second to SWRC winner Hayden Paddon having led initially before going off the road and continuing under Rally 2 rules.
“We have taken points for second place here, which is okay for the championship, but we could have won this rally,” said the Swede, a two-time Junior world champion. “The car wasn’t damaged [when we went off] but it just wasn’t possible to get it back to the road. It’s really frustrating to go off at any time, but when you have such a good package in the car and you know you are going to be in with a shot at winning again, it’s really, really tough.”