After the glisten and shine of McLaren, I had now gone to the other end of the automotive spectrum -dirt, stones, grit and punishment. I ventured over to Subaru Mitaka on the outskirts of Shinjuku where a small collection of WRC cars were sitting. Rally is my true love and any chance to photograph a rally car and I am there, especially when it is a genuine McRae car.
What makes this car special is that it was the beginning of the World Rally Car era. Highly mechanical compared to some of the cars that we have become used to. Modelled off the 22b, this car is known in the rally world as ‘R14 WRC’.
If you happened to be anywhere near the 98 Sanremo or RAC rally then this is the car that McRae was running in. It was built right at the end of the 98 season for 2 rallies after McRae binned it’s older brother in Finland.
The beating heart of the Impreza, now that is an engine!
Anyone who had the chance to see McRae live will appreciate what this car really is. I remember standing in culverts on the inside of corners, quite safe from Makinen and Kankkunen but when McRae came through you ensured to stand a few steps back. You could guarantee that Colin would be running a much bigger cut than anyone else. As the Mitaka staff spotted me frothing at the mouth they told me to ‘jump in’. Not every day you get to sit in Colin McRae’s office.
Looking under the back the evidence of a hard punishing tarmac event is obvious. Stamped and coded parts from Prodrive that were shipped out to Corsica are everywhere. White paint pens indicating what day, and setup they were for bring all the feelings of the rally right into the showroom.
The rallying world hasn’t seen anyone as flamboyant as McRae since his untimely passing. The memories of massive jumps through Bunnings in Australia, and leaning on the snowbanks of Sweden are still firmly etched in our minds.
If you are wanting to read a full in-depth article about this particular machine then make sure you keep your eyes peeled for the upcoming NZ Performance Car magazine. All the nitty gritty will be in there.
After seeing it in the showroom, spotting photos such as this with it being driven in anger just make the experience of shooting it that much more special. Photo credit: Petr Fitz (www.ewrc.cz)
Colin McRae on his way to 3rd place, what a backdrop! Photo credit: Petr Fitz (www.ewrc.cz)
Coming up in the next installment, Jamie and I freeze ourselves while spending a day at Ebisu Circuit. Brrrrrrrrrr.