Rally driver Alister McRae checks out the circuit ahead of last year’s racing at the Caloundra industrial estate.
Rally driver Alister McRae checks out the circuit ahead of last year’s racing at the Caloundra industrial estate. Cade Mooney

McRae confident this time around

ALISTER McRae’s first dig at the International Rally of Queensland last year did not end that well.

He was forced to retire due to a mechanical problem while bashing through the Sunshine Coast hinterland.

But after finishing third at the opening round of the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship in Malaysia last month, McRae is confident of better fortunes this time round when the rally returns to Caloundra, Nambour and Imbil from May 13.

“We retired on the second day (last year) because the engine lost its oil and basically stopped in the middle of a stage,” McRae said yesterday.

“It was very disappointing. We were on a good points roll and looking at a great result. It’s not good when that happens.”

McRae, the brother of the late Colin McRae, a former world champion, will start as one of the favourites alongside teammate Chris Atkinson, who won the Malaysian event.

McRae, 40, and co-driver Bill Hayes finished last year’s championship in third place and the Perth-based driver said a solid result at the Sunshine Coast was critical for their title aspirations.

“We’re really looking forward to coming to Queensland and racking up some points,” McRae said.

“The course was a bit damp and slippery last year and I’m guessing it could be the same again.

“It’s a fairly technical course. Some roads are fast and flowing, then there’s narrower, twisting ones through the trees.

“You need good pace notes and have to know the roads well.”

Last year’s winner Guarav Gill (Team MRF) is returning along with teammate Katsuhiko Taguchi.



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