Tuesday | 20 Sep 2022

Guest Column: Max McRae

The World Rally Championship is the perfect way to get over jet lag. After 20 hours on a plane and a couple of hours sleep, I was ready to get out into the Greek heat and to listen to some more of gramps’ stories.

I’d been waiting for quite a while to see a WRC round up close and EKO Acropolis Rally Greece did not disappoint.

Jimmy – my gramps – and my dad (Alister) had told me lots of stories about these incredible roads and how tricky they were to compete on. And gramps didn’t waste much time in reminding dad that it was him who had the better result of the two of them – he was fourth overall in Greece, driving a Mitsubishi Galant VR-4 in 1989. That’s cool.

But it was a while ago. Today’s cars are a world away from the Group A stuff of the Eighties and Nineties.

What hadn’t changed was the roads – they were so, so rough. We drove some of them and it was a real eye-opener to see what this rally was all about. Gramps was laughing at how mad I found some of the rocks and boulders being pulled into the road. It was insane!

Until this summer, I’d done all my competing in Australia and it’s fair to say I hadn’t really seen many roads like those in Greece. That’s part of the reason I was up there in Lamia, to take a look around and try to understand a bit more first-hand the difference in nature of gravel rallies.

I was also in Greece with a bit of a look to next year and the future. Like I said, I’m rallying in Australia right now and I’m loving that. Last month I scored my first ever Australian Rally Championship podium on the Gippsland Rally – I was pretty stoked with that result in our Subaru Impreza WRX.

But I know I have to come outside of Australia for the future.

We’re looking at Junior WRC and that was the second reason – actually the main reason – for the trip this month. I got the chance to test a Ford Fiesta Rally3 in Greece directly after the Acropolis.

That was amazing. I was really fortunate to drive the Rally3 in Poland on Tarmac in the summer, but I was desperate to see what it would be like on the loose.

Teenager McRae eyes Junior WRC in 2023

Teenager McRae eyes Junior WRC in ...

Max McRae is setting his sights on following father Alister and uncle Colin into the FIA World Rally Championship next season.

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It was everything I was hoping for. The grip, the balance from the chassis and the engine were all unreal! Thanks so much to M-Sport Poland for this opportunity.

Even before I sat in the Fiesta earlier this month, I knew the Junior WRC was the way forwards for me, but that test totally confirmed it.

We have some support confirmed already, so I’d say we’d be pretty close to making the start of the championship, but we have to find more sponsors. That’s what I’m on right now. Motivation was never an issue before, but driving that car has got me pumped for next season.

Before next year, I’ve still got some events in Australia with Maximum Motorsport this year and I’m really looking forward to those. Right now, I just want to be driving and getting as much experience out of every opportunity as possible.

I know I’m only 18 and there’s plenty of time ahead of me, but I’m pretty impatient to get there!

Hopefully I’ll be seeing a bit more of the WRC next year…