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Motoring news

Audi’s new Q cars

April 12 2017

Another week, another new Audi. Two new Audis, in fact. The German car maker has announced a couple more additions to its Q line up of SUVs. The Q4 is a coupe-SUV hybrid that will go up against the BMW X4 and Mercedes GLC Coupe. As its name suggests, it’ll be positioned between the compact Q3 and bigger Q5. At the other end of the scale is the Q8, which will go head to head against the Range Rover. It’s lower and sleeker than the Q7 Audi is also producing. In concept form, it sat only four people, although it seems likely the production version will be a five seater. There’s a 630 litre boot as well. Eagle eyed Audi followers will notice the only SUV slots left to fill are the Q1 and Q6. Watch this space...


‘Overwhelming’ backing for McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill

March 4 2015

The McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill is shaping up to be one of the biggest rally themed events in Scotland, if not the UK. Originally designed to be a celebration of Colin McRae’s world rally championship title win 20 years ago, the idea has gained momentum over recent months, with rally fans and motoring enthusiasts the length and breadth of the UK getting excited by the prospect of the May 16 and 17 festival. A highlight will be the largest gathering of Colin’s competition cars ever seen in Scotland, ranging from his original Mini and Talbot Sunbeam to the Subaru Impreza that carried him and Derek Ringer to world victory in 1995. Over the years enthusiasts have snapped up McRae competition cars as mementoes of their hero, many of them locked away from public view until now. “Since we went public on this event, we have been approached by a number of these fans to supply ex-McRae cars for the gathering,” said Knockhill’s events director Stuart Gray. “Support from the general public has been amazing too. “The idea of a 20th anniversary commemorative event just seems to have struck a chord with the fans but it has also given us the opportunity to create a major event for Scotland.” Colin’s father Jimmy McRae, who is working on having some rallying greats make an appearance, added: “The fans’ desire to celebrate Colin’s achievements is overwhelming at times.” One star name already committed to the event is Alister McRae, Colin’s younger brother and former British Rally Champion as well as FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Champion, who now lives in Australia. “There’s no way I’m going to miss this,” said Alister. “I’ll be coming ‘home’ for that weekend. I have no idea what I’ll be driving when I get there but, whatever it is, it will be fun.”


Knockhill rally festival will celebrate 20th anniversary of Colin McRae’s championship win

October 10 2014

Knockhill will stage a special rally festival to mark the 20th anniversary of the late Colin McRae’s world championship win. The Fife track is working with the motorsport legend’s family on the special tribute weekend on May 16 and 17 next year. The new event will celebrate the world of rallying, both old and new, as well as McRae’s achievement. It will feature an invitational competitive rally for three classes, bringing together competitors in their latest machinery, competitors in classic rally cars and the next breed of rally stars. The event will use a combination of tracks including the racing circuit, the Knockhill rally stage and perimeter roads. Knockhill events director Stuart Gray said: “We are proud and privileged to be working with the McRae family to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Colin’s world title. “He competed here so many times in rally events, raced here in the British Touring Car Championship and a Porsche Carrera Cup car, he tested here often and came for some fun too. “We knew him very well and think that this tribute event will be something special for the thousands of Colin’s fans and rallying fans across the UK and beyond.” He added he hoped it would become an annual event. Jimmy McRae, father of Colin, said: “We are pleased to be working with Knockhill and their working group to put together this special event to mark Colin’s 20th anniversary. “It seems only like yesterday that we all shared in his success and believe that this event will relive his achievements and showcase rallying in Scotland at a great venue. “I have competed recently at Knockhill and know it is a real test for the crews and all the show elements off track will be a real treat for rally fans too.”

Perth & Kinross

Sir Chris Hoy upping the horsepower at Perthshire rally

August 31 2013

Sir Chris Hoy will swap pedal power for horsepower at a major rally in Highland Perthshire. He is coming to Aberfeldy to take part in the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally, the penultimate round of the ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship. On Saturday October 5 he will climb aboard the rally course car alongside five times British Rally Champion Jim McRae. A long-time fan of motor sport, and rallying in particular, Sir Chris Hoy hosted the recent BBC Television tribute to the late Colin McRae which was part of the company’s Racing Legends series. In the past, Sir Chris’ sporting cycling commitments have precluded any involvement in motor sport but since retiring from the sport he has been able to devote more time to other passions. Since his ‘retirement’ Sir Chris has participated in both saloon car and sports car racing events at circuits including Brands Hatch and Oulton Park. When approached by the BBC with regard to the Racing Legends series he achieved a personal ambition, to drive a rally car. During filming for the series, Sir Chris spent a lot of time with Colin’s father Jim McRae who said: “I didn’t realise just how big a fan Sir Chris was but he obviously followed Colin’s career in great detail and knew a lot about rallying.”

Perth & Kinross

City centre start for Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally

September 3 2015

Organisers of a Perthshire motorsport challenge held in honour of Colin McRae have made a series of radical changes to this year’s event. The Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally now in its 21st year will set off from Perth city centre. Times have also been altered to allow for more drivers and their crews to take part. The run, which will see dozens of cars racing through central Perthshire woodland, will take place over the weekend of October 3 and 4. This year the competitor sign-in and technical checks will be on Saturday morning, rather than Friday afternoon, ahead of a midday start. The rally will end 24 hours later with a public forum, giving spectators the rare chance to put their questions to representatives of the Motor Sports Safety Review Group. Organisers at Lanarkshire-based Coltness Car Club said the changes were to help competitors from across the UK who had previously struggled to get time off work on Friday to get to Perthshire in time for the traditional Saturday morning start. There will be three special stages on Forestry Commission roads on day one, with the final two stages the next morning. The race begins in Perth rather than Aberfeldy, the base for the last five years. Club chairman Jim Brown said: “We realise the new format will not please all of the competitors but we are keen to try something different. “If the competitors support it, then it will give us food for thought next year, but if they don’t like it, then we may well revert to tradition.” He added: “Motorsports are always about going forward and trying something new and Coltness Car Club are always keen to innovate and experiment.” The rally represents the final round of this year’s MSA ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship. The event was named after Colin McRae, a former club member who won the World Rally Championship title in 1995. Colin was heavily involved in the early days of the event and continued to take an interest in club activities during his World Championship years. The club said it is grateful to the McRae family for allowing it to keep using Colin’s name in the title of the event, following his death in a helicopter accident in 2007.


Colin McRae tribute event sees thousands flock to Knockhill

May 17 2015

Thousands of rally fans have flocked to Fife for a weekend tribute to Scots WRC legend Colin McRae. Twenty years after the Lanark ace scooped the World Rally Championship with Subaru, Knockhill race circuit is hosting a two-day celebration of the star who remains an inspiration for drivers at all levels. Colin’s father Jimmy - a five times British rally champion -and brother Alister ware participating in the packed weekend programme, which includes the McRae Rally Challenge organised by the Coltness Car Club which played a key role in McRae’s early years in the sport. McRae died in a helicopter crash in 2007, but his place in motorsport history is illustrated by the big name support for the event. Former World Rally Champions Stig Blomqvist and Hannu Mikkola are both participating in the 30-mile rally around Scotland’s motor sport centre, as is current British Touring Car Championship leader Gordon Shedden. Knockhill business manager Shedden is making his rally debut in a Ford Escort Mk II. “It’s definitely going to be a trip into the unknown,” he said. A major highlight for fans is the involvement of northern Irishman Kris Meeke, fresh from his first WRC victory on Rally Argentina. McRae mentored Meeke and the 36-year-old dedicated the debut triumph to the Scot. “It’s a special event for me,” said Meeke, who got his hands on a Citroen Xsara WRC in the McRae livery from his time with the team in 2003.

Angus & The Mearns

Rally driver putting TCCL fundraising in the fast lane

May 11 2015

A Tayside children’s cancer charity is poised for some high-speed profile during a celebration of Scottish motorsport hero Colin McRae this weekend. Forfar-based Rally Team Scotland driver John MacCrone will be on the start line for the McRae Rally Challenge at Knockhill, a 20th anniversary celebration of the Lanark legend’s World Championship win which is set to attract thousands of fans to Fife. As well as trying to impress in a world-class line-up for the invitation-only rally, MacCrone will be carrying the logo of TCCL (Tayside Children with Cancer and Leukaemia) on the bonnet of a £200,000 Ford Fiesta R5 rally car to raise funds and awareness for the group which is stepping closer of creating a family getaway facility in St Andrews. A house in the town is being converted to become the TCCL Lodge and 25-year-old MacCrone is backing the project with an online fundraising appeal. “I spend a lot of time trying to find money from sponsors for my rallying so I thought it would be nice to try to give something back to such a good cause,” said John. As a thank you to the Angus sponsors, MacCrone turned Forfar heads when he took the pocket rocket car on a whistlestop tour of backers on Saturday. Colin M Smith, Oilfast, Strathtay Potato Company, TSL, Watermans and GS Robertson have all helped Rally Team Scotland with backing. The two-day McRae Challenge will deliver a stellar line-up of drivers and machinery and MacCrone said he was honoured to lining up against big names in the sport. WRC star Kris Meeke, who was mentored by McRae, will be at Knockhill fresh from his recent debut championship victory on Rally Argentina, and circuit-based British Touring Car champion Gordon Shedden will be competing in a rally car for the first time. “It is a real privilege to be invited to take part. Colin was such a hero to every rally driver like myself so it is going to be awesome to be part of the event.”

Perth & Kinross

Colin McRae rally cancelled due to low number of entrants

October 5 2015

A motorsport challenge in honour of racing legend Colin McRae, which was due to roar through rural Perthshire at the weekend, was cancelled because of lack of interest, organisers said. The annual Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally was due to set off for the 21st time in Perth city centre on Saturday morning. But the Coltness Car Club, which runs the event, said the number of entries fell far short of the break-even point. If it had gone ahead, the club said it would have been faced with an “unmanageable” financial shortfall. Chairman Jim Brown said: “It was a difficult decision and yet an easy decision, as we didn’t have any choice. It all boiled down to a simple question of economics.”

Perth & Kinross

Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally to make return to Perthshire

August 7 2013

Perthshire is set to stage one of its biggest sporting events when the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally takes place later this year. Organised by the Coltness Car Club (CCC), the event attracts around 12,000 visitors. Working closely with the Forestry Commission, the team at CCC have come up with a route comprising six special stages incorporating some of the best known forest tests in the UK, including Errochty and Craigvinean. The Colin McRae rally was first run in 1994 when it was based in Galashiels. McRae died in 2007 following a helicopter accident that also claimed the lives of his son Johnny and two family friends. He became the UK’s first world rally champion in 1995. During the finale of the 2007 Scottish Rally Championship, the Colin McRae Forest Stages held in Perth, there was no number one car as McRae had been due to drive the course car on the event. Instead, his car was parked at the starting point of the rally, where fans were able to sign a book of condolences. In November 2008, McRae was posthumously inducted into the Scottish Sports Hall of Fame.


Chris Hoy turns up the speed at Colin McRae rally

October 5 2013

Olympic gold medallists Sir Chris Hoy and Amy Williams are taking part in today’s Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally in Highland Perthshire. The pair set off from Aberfeldy town square with more than 80 other competitors at 7.30am following a ceremonial start. The event is round seven of the eight-round national ARR Craib Scottish Rally Championship and today’s stage is dedicated to the late driver Colin McRae. Olympic cyclist Sir Chris will co-drive the course care alongside McRae’s father, Jimmy. Former skeleton sledder Amy will partner Formula One presenter Tony Jardine in her third race. She is hoping to achieve international co-driver status in time for the final round of the World Rally Championship next month. The 2013 Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally is organised by Coltness Car Club and supported by Perth and Kinross Council. It sees drivers tackle six stages in the forests around Perthshire, including Sophia Wood and Craigvinean near Dunkeld and Errochty near Loch Tummel. A long time fan of motor sport, Sir Chris was a friend of Colin McRae, who became Britain’s first outright World Rally Champion in 1995. The gold medal-winning cyclist attended the Scottish launch of a new book about the late driver held at Breadalbane Community Campus last night. Produced by photographer Colin McMaster and writer David Evans, the book is titled ‘McRae, just Colin’ and covers his early life and his World Championship forays.