Alister McRae says one the best things about Brother Rally New Zealand is that the spectacular gravel roads make it hard to resist pushing to go as fast as possible.
McRae, the younger brother of rallying legend Colin, is chasing success in the FIA Super 2000 World Rally Championship section of the event for the factory PROTON Motorsports team and is a big fan of the Auckland-based round.
“Rally New Zealand is always a favourite among the drivers,” said the Scot, who achieved a New Zealand personal best of sixth in 2003. “The fast and flowing nature of the roads encourage you to attack and push harder. The roads work with you on this event, you can use the camber of the road to pull you through the corner – at times you can be a gear higher than you would be on the same sort of bend without the camber.”
McRae hasn’t competed on Rally New Zealand since 2007 when he came close to winning the Group N division. However, he took part on International Rally of Whangarei in the country back in April and hopes that will hand him and his PROTON team-mate P-G Andersson an advantage.
“It’s great that P-G and I have been down here already once this year, that’s given us a good chance to dial ourselves into the specific nature of these stages,” he said.
Meanwhile, PROTON team boss Chris Mellors has paid tribute to SWRC co-driver Gareth Roberts, who lost his life in a crash in Sicily last weekend.
“We are all deeply saddened by the news from last Saturday morning,” said Mellors. “Gareth was one of Britain’s brightest co-driving talents and for his life to be cut short is a tragedy.”
Photos: Ross Hyde and Euan Cameron