Max reignites McRae magic with Junior ERC win

Monday 15 April 2024

The famous McRae name is back on the top step of the rallying podium. Teaming up with Cameron Fair, a graduate of Motorsport UK’s Academy co-driver programme, 19-year-old Max McRae claimed his first FIA Junior European Rally Championship win on the rough and tough gravel stages of Rally Hungary. 

Max, of course, has rally sport running through in his veins. His father Alister took an outright ERC win in 1996, his late legendary uncle Colin became the first British driver to lift the World Rally Championship in 1995 and his grandfather Jimmy bagged a record five British Rally Championship titles.  

While rivals suffered in the gruelling conditions, the ambitious teenager maximised his pedigree to deliver a strategical masterclass to claim his first ERC Junior Class victory with a Peugeot 208 Rally4.    

“It’s very, very special, especially on such a rough event,” said Max of his win. “Cam and I worked really hard after the recce. We came up with a plan, played it quite smart and used our brains as this wasn’t the kind of event to drive flat-out everywhere.  

“It’s a very nice feeling and has lifted a weight off my shoulders – there’s nothing to prove anymore. Hopefully, we can keep this going on the next rounds and see where we end up – it’s a very good start.” 

In the top class, Team UK alumni Jon Armstrong kicked off his ERC2 campaign following his promotion to the championship’s premier category with M-Sport. The Ulsterman, who impressed when taking last year’s ERC3 title, finished eighth overall on a solid debut in what is a super-competitive 2024 entry. 

“It was a pretty good rally and to get a top 10 is nice,” reflected Armstrong. “We learnt a big nugget of knowledge to take onto the asphalt and see how that goes.” 

Jon and Max will next be in ERC action on the Spanish island of Gran Canaria early next month with the Rally Islas Canarias. It is the first of this season’s five Tarmac-based ERC rounds – the fourth which is Rali Ceredigion in Wales.