Tuesday | 25 Mar 2014

McRae crash tops Focus poll

It might not have been the finest moment for the Ford Focus RS WRC, but Colin McRae’s bone-jarring accident at Rally GB in 2001 topped wrc.com’s poll of favourite Focus memories.

Earlier this month we offered five standout moments for you to choose from here, and it was the Scot’s huge shunt in the Rhondda stage in south Wales, which ended his hopes of a second world title, that came out on top.

Almost one in three of you voted for that as your favourite Focus memory. McRae’s crash topped the vote with 29 per cent, ahead of Marcus Grönholm’s closest-ever WRC win in New Zealand in 2007 which received 26 per cent.

McRae and Grist moments before the crash

The Focus’ first win at Kenya’s Safari Rally in 1999 received 17 per cent, Jari-Matti Latvala’s monster crash in Portugal in 2009 took 15 per cent of the votes and the car’s 2006 manufacturers’ world title claimed 14 per cent.

McRae described the 150kph crash, during which his Focus rolled end-over-end four times, as the biggest disappointment of his career.

“There were two corners, a right and a left, very fast, fifth and sixth gear. We had a cut on the left, and I sort of misheard it and started to line the car up for a cut on the right-hander,” he said afterwards.

All over - McRae's wrecked Ford Focus after the crash

“Probably I went maybe 6 inches more than I would have done normally on the inside of the corner. Unfortunately there was a big hole in the grass and it caught the inside front wheel and flipped the car over.

“I knew the car was going to go deeper into the apex than I had wanted it to, but you make that split second decision to let it go or you try and correct it. There was space and time to correct it, but I made the decision just to go with the line the car was going to take,” added McRae.

Long-time co-driver Nicky Grist recalled the accident. “We ended up pirouetting through the air. I remember bouncing on the road, on the roof, and then it leapt into the air and you could see road, trees, sky, road, trees, sky, trees and I was thinking ‘My God, where are we going to end up?’” said the Welshman.