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AUTOSPORT Awards: Jimmy McRae wins Gregor Grant Award

Jimmy McRae has been honoured with a Gregor Grant Award in recognition of his achievements in motorsport at this year's AUTOSPORT Awards in London

AUTOSPORT Awards: Jimmy McRae wins Gregor Grant Award

The father of 1995 World Rally champion Colin and former British champion Alister, Jimmy was also a highly-successful and accomplished driver in his own right. Despite his sons' accomplishments, he remains the most successful British Rally Championship competitor of all time

He won the BRC five times from 1981-88, finished runner-up in the European Rally Championship in '82 and also competed in the WRC.

He has continued to compete in occasional events including historic rallies, the Lungan Park Rally and, in 2008, on the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, held in memory of his son.

McRae was presented with his award by M-Sport boss Malcolm Wilson.

"The British Championship back in the 1980s was like World Rallying now. It was a fantastic era, I'm glad I didn't miss it," McRae said.

"I had some fantastic battles with Russell Brookes and Malcolm [Wilson] as well, and we also had [Stig] Blomqvist, [Ari] Vatanen as well. It was very special. Most of the time I was a match for them...

"I still do a bit now and then again in historics. In the first half of this year I had an injury, but I went to Ypres Rally in Belgium this year and finished sixth. When I phoned [wife] Margaret she said 'oh my God, he's not going to retire yet.'"

It wasn't until the relatively late age of 31 that Jimmy turned his attention to the sport, but he met with success rapidly.

In addition to his 1981, '82, '84, '87 and '88 British Rally Championship crowns - scored at a time when WRC regulars like Henri Toivonen, Blomqvist, Hannu Mikkola and Vatanen would make the crossover - he also won the 1980 and '81 Irish Tarmac Championships and was a seven-time Circuit of Ireland winner.

On the international scene, highlights included finishing third on the Lombard RAC Rally in 1983 in his Opel Manta 400, and again in '87 in his Ford Sierra RS Cosworth.

In European competition he was victorious in Rally Cyprus, Rally Halkidikis, Rally du Var and the Ypres Rally, while he also scored numerous successes in the Middle East and in South Africa.

Adding to such accomplishments was Jimmy's versatility, expressed not only in the variety of cars he drove but also in the surfaces he conquered and the co-drivers he did so with. From Ford Escort to the tail-happy Opel Manta and the Sierra Cosworths, and from different surfaces to three different co-drivers across his British Rally titles, Jimmy made a habit of winning.

When Colin embarked upon his own career Jimmy set up McRae Motorsport, which in turn helped Alister and, later, Kris Meeke.

In recent years he finished as top privateer in the 2003 Rally GB, won his class of the 2004 Killarney Historic Rally by over four minutes and, for the 60th anniversary of the Scottish Rally, entered the event alongside Colin and Alister in 2005. Alister beat Jimmy by 11 seconds, with Colin losing time after his gearbox stuck in sixth.

He has also won in the MSA British Historic Stage Rally Championship and the Roger Albert Clark Rally, and has competed in the Lurgan Park Rally.

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