20 years since Colin McRae's WRC victory - Rally New Zealand

This November marks 20 years since Colin McRae became World Rally Champion; updated with the 1995 RAC Rally

Colin's 1995 season ended much better than it started. Despite displaying clear pace - the very first stage of the very first rally in Monte Carlo was won by McRae - it was Portugal until the Scot scored his first 1995 points, with a third place result.

A fifth place on the Tour de Course was hardly disastrous, but it was still a position behind McRae's main rival, teammate Carlos Sainz.

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But in New Zealand, McRae's title hopes were reinvigorated. It was perhaps little surprise to those who'd followed McRae in previous years - he'd won in both 1993 and 1994, at the wheel of the Legacy and Impreza.

A land of stunning scenery and smooth, flowing curve sequences amid expansive greenery, McRae's sideways style perfectly suited nation's gravel stages and by this point in the season, his Impreza had shaken off its early-season power deficit to the Toyotas, Fords and Mitsubishis.

In the end, he edged out Didier Auriol's Celica GT-Four by a whole 44 seconds. Better still for the Scot, Sainz failed to even start the event, allowing McRae to claw back the maximum available points to close back the gap.

Despite McRae's dominance of New Zealand in the 1993-1995 seasons, the 1995 event was also to be his last victory on the antipodean island. The 1996 event, not a WRC round, was won by Britain's second world rally champion, 2001 victor Richard Burns, and in 1997 McRae's Subaru teammate Kenneth Eriksson took victory.

After that, a mix of bad luck and uncompetitive cars prevented Colin securing any further victories in New Zealand - but in the 1995 season, it was the start of a run that would see him become champion.

Page 5 > Impreza Series McRae

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