Former Motorsport Australia Rally Championship Driver Max McRae has joined the Factory Racing Team for the first time in a competitive setting as he takes his first steps into his new journey on the European Rally stage.
The third-generation rally star in the famous McRae family made the move from Perth to Scotland where he is now settling in and taking on new responsibilities within his new team.
The 18-year-olds first call to duty was to test the Peugeot 207 Rally4, the same vehicle he will be behind the wheel of in this weekend’s Ralli Terras D’Aboboreira in Amarante.
“This is what I’ve been waiting for,” McRae said.
“There’s no doubt it was tough leaving family and a big bunch of mates back in Australia, but this is the experience I need. To be up in Europe and in Scotland means I’m much more in the middle of things.
“We’re competing in the European Rally Championship this year, so I need to be up here, but as well as that there’s more opportunity being in the UK. It’s a really exciting time now and there’s plenty of family and family friends up here as well.”
McRae has taken pleasure in watching the car in which he will tackle his first major European challenge in being built, with hope that the Opal Corsa Rally4 max will be fast enough to take yet another competitor to a title win like it did in the 2022 Junior ERC season.
“The factory is really cool, and I was stoked to see my Opel being built – there’s something really special about seeing your own rally car being prepared.”
“With the Opel still in build, we’re going to use one of the team’s Peugeot 208 Rally4s this week. There are plenty of similarities with the car, it’s a common chassis, so this week will give us plenty of relevant seat time ahead of next month’s Junior ERC opener.”
“The test went well. We know there’s going to be a lot of the Peugeot Rally Cup Ibérica competitors out at Rali Terras D’Aboboreira this week – it’ll be interesting to see where the pace is for us.
“This is more of a warm-up event. It’s a chance to work with the team in competition, get settled in and get some driving done.”
The West Australian will tackle nine stages across two days, making up almost 100 competitive kilometres of rally action that draws major similarities to the tracks used in the World Rally Championship Rounds.
He will then look towards the opening round of the Junior ERC, where he will make his way to Poland on 20-21 May.
The Rali Terras D’Aboboreira kicks off in Amarante, Portugal this weekend on 29-30 April.