A decade ago, the unthinkable happened to Colin McRae - he was dropped by Citroen and left unemployed in the World Rally Championship for 2004.
Just eight years after winning his first world title and just five years after becoming the highest paid rally driver in WRC history, courtesy of a multi-million pound, sport-shaping deal with Ford, the Scot was out. In McRae's final full season, there had been six teams all paying frontline drivers good money. At least 16 drivers could rightly call themselves professionals in 2003.
Admittedly, McRae lost out after a regulation change meant only two nominated cars could score manufacturer points and Citroen took Carlos Sainz instead of the Briton.
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David Evans is the rallies editor of Autosport and Motorsport News. A successful rally driving father ensured an early introduction to motorsport and, fascinated as he was by rallying, the fourth estate was of equal interest. Having read (or at least looked at the pictures) from the age of two, he joined <i>Motoring News</i> in 1996 and later moved to Autosport in 2002.@davidevansrally More features by David Evans