San Remo: McRae’s in and title fight is on

Colin McRae's clearance to compete on this week's San Remo Rally means that the second part of the asphalt 'double-header' of Corsica and San Remo ensure the World Rally Championship remains fully alive

San Remo: McRae’s in and title fight is on

The Scot will contest the event just 20 days after the massive accident in Corsica that left him needing major reconstructive surgery to repair a double fracture of his cheek bone. He is nevertheless determined not only to compete on the Italian classic but also intends to win.

"I haven't given a moment's thought to giving up driving because of the accident," said the resilient Scot who still plans to lift the World title this season.

McRae and Ford team mate Carlos Sainz also have every intention of claiming the manufacturers' crown for the Blue Oval. After the Martini team's one-two in Cyprus early in September, McRae's co-driver Nicky Grist insisted: "It's not a matter of 'if' but 'when' Ford wins the title. Once that's out of the way, Colin and Carlos can go head to head for the drivers' title as well."

Standing in their way are Richard Burns and series leader Marcus Gronholm. Burns had a tough Corsica Rally but believes that Subaru learned enough to go into San Remo with renewed confidence. Providing Burns comes out of Italy with at least a solid points finish, the Englishman can head for Australia and the Rally GB in the knowledge that these are two of his strongest events.

Gronholm's asphalt performance in Corsica was a revelation and we should expect more of the same in Italy. However, Peugeot's stated aim is to prioritise the manufacturers' championship and that means Corsica winner Gilles Panizzi and team mate Francois Delecour will be expected to set the pace.

This could, of course, cost Gronholm the points he needs to maintain his championship lead in the long term and hand the advantage back to Burns, McRae and Sainz.

San Remo marks the last chance for four-time World Champion Tommi Makinen to stay in the title race. The Finn has won both of the last two San Remos but has struggled this year to turn solid drives into starring ones and remains in the hunt by the skin of his teeth. Unless he can find his so-far elusive form then the title race will be down to four drivers with three events to go.

SEAT, Skoda and Hyundai can expect to be little more than the supporting cast this weekend but a star drive from any of the three teams could stir up the title mix.

Three rounds to go, five points covering the top four, a compact route amid manic spectators still on a high from Ferrari's F1 title. It could only be San Remo...

Autosport.com will bring you stage-by-stage coverage of the all the San Remo action with live timing from Friday.

shares
comments
Subaru reveals 2001 challenger

Previous article

Subaru reveals 2001 challenger

Next article

McRae fine after first run since crash

McRae fine after first run since crash
Load comments
The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0 Plus

The steely determination behind the WRC’s Solberg 2.0

Two decades after Petter Solberg emerged as a World Rally Championship winner, his son Oliver is ready to take the WRC by storm. Having secured a part-time WRC factory drive for Hyundai in 2022, he's raring to repay the marque's faith in him and follow in his 2003 champion father's footsteps

WRC
Oct 14, 2021
Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season Plus

Analysing the key moves in WRC’s 2022 silly season

The World Rally Championship will step into a new hybrid era in 2022, but the car changes haven't been the only excitement that has built within the paddock. WRC's 'silly season' kicked off in a big way and all the key driver moves for 2022 - of which there are many - look set to shake things up

WRC
Oct 13, 2021
How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age Plus

How joining Finland’s exclusive club was Evans' true WRC coming-of-age

By his own admission, the fifth World Rally Championship victory of Elfyn Evans' career in Finland last weekend was the drive of his life. Winning five stages in a row and soaking up huge pressure from the Hyundais on the fastest gravel stages around, the Welshman put in a faultless showing that proved what he is truly made of

WRC
Oct 4, 2021
Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant? Plus

Does Neuville have a point with his Rally1 rant?

OPINION: Thierry Neuville's diatribe against the upcoming Rally1-spec machines that will usher in the World Rally Championship's new hybrid era was remarkable in an era where drivers are usually reticent to air their views in public. But are the Belgian's concerns about speed, safety and cost entirely valid?

WRC
Sep 16, 2021
How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains Plus

How the WRC's new flying Finn reached new heights in the Greek mountains

After Kalle Rovanpera’s historic feat at Rally Estonia, the Finn scaled new heights at the Rally of the Gods with a commanding victory. And this time Toyota’s young star demonstrated why the future is bright with his devastating speed and consistency at the Acropolis Rally

WRC
Sep 13, 2021
The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally Plus

The WRC drivers that came of age at the Acropolis Rally

Five drivers have won first time out at the Rally Acropolis, transcending the tough dirt and gravel Greek roads to cement a place in rallying folklore. Here are three of the first-time winners' tales

WRC
Sep 9, 2021
Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble Plus

Understanding Suninen’s sudden WRC exit gamble

From being considered a likely contender to drive the next-generation M-Sport Ford Puma in 2022, Teemu Suninen's abrupt exit has created plenty of questions. The Finn's bid to become his country's next World Rally Championship winner won't be furthered by being sidelined, but there may be reason behind the decision

WRC
Sep 2, 2021
Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit? Plus

Could Spa’s cameo offer the WRC a new avenue to exploit?

OPINION: The Ypres Rally featured a cameo from the Spa-Francorchamps circuit in its final stage, giving WRC teams the chance to experience its iconic corners in rallying machinery. It proved to be an engaging addition to the rally, and could perhaps serve as an example for other events to visit famous circuits

WRC
Aug 24, 2021