Racing Legends (2012) Episode Scripts

N/A - Colin McRae

I'm Sir Chris Hoy, Olympic cycling champion, and lifelong fan of rally driving.
Now I'm going to retrace the steps of one of my all time sporting heroes, '90s rally legend, Colin McRae.
Colin McRae is straight-up a god.
That guy's amazing! 'With the help of his friends and family' It's spectacular.
'.
.
I'm on a mission to uncover what made him such a revered driver.
'By attempting to drive like Colin' Aye, you're doing all right.
'.
.
I'll discover 'a man who lived life to the limit.
And drove to the limit, too.
' Like all geniuses he had his flaws.
But he was respected around the world.
Colin was definitely one of my biggest inspirations.
'Now I'm going to experience the Colin McRae storyfrom the driver's seat.
' Right now, I wish I'd taken up rallying.
It's so much fun.
As a professional cyclist, I've been crowned world champion 11 times, and Olympic champion on six occasions But that doesn't stop me looking for the next big thrill.
This is my purpose-built track car.
'A toy that helps me feed my love of speed.
' I think all young boys want to be racing drivers at some point.
I suppose there are similarities between cycling and track driving.
If you don't think ahead, then things happen too quickly.
COMMENTATOR: Two laps to go here.
Kucynsky of Poland has the head of the race at the moment.
I love cycling and I love cars, too.
I don't suppose you have to be one or the other, you can be both.
COMMENTATOR: Here comes Hoy going over the top.
Awang trying to hold him off.
Chris Hoy accelerating away here.
There's a crash at the back but Hoy takes the gold medal.
An emphatic victory, wasn't it? 'Of course, when it comes to driving, I'm just an amateur, 'but that hasn't stopped me wondering what life might have 'been like had I chosen a different routelike Colin McRae.
' It wasn't just about the winning.
He was the best driver of his time and the world champion, but it was the way he did it that was so special.
Sadly, Colin died when a helicopter he was piloting crashed in 2007.
The tragedy also claimed the life of his son and two other people.
But for legions of fans, his success as a rally driver is still an inspiration.
Colin was just a born winner.
It was all about being the fastest, the best and the quickest.
COMMENTATOR: Amazingly.
McRae turned a one-minute-14-second deficit into a 36-second win.
When he was behind a wheel, there was nothing else like it.
He was in his own world.
His legacy WILL live on, because he was an all-action hero.
How will you attack tomorrow? Just attack again, 100%.
He was flat-out all the time.
COMMENTATOR: A runaway victory for Colin McRae and co-driver Derek Ringer.
He was the people's champion.
CROWD CHEERS He will live on in our memories for ever.
COMMENTATOR: Colin McRae, 1995 World Rally Champion.
CROWD CHEERS 'Now I'm going to retrace the steps of Britain's first World Rally Champion, 'and with the help of his friends and family, 'attempt to drive just like Colin.
' I'm massively looking forward to the next few days.
It's such a tragic story, as well, that I'm sure it will be quite difficult at times, too.
I don't expect to be any good at rally driving at all.
I think I'll really enjoy it, but I'm under no illusions I'm any kind of Colin McRae II.
Before I meet those who knew him best, I want to understand what made Colin McRae legendary, so I'm getting the low-down from a man who knows what it takes to drive a rally car.
Meet American rally driver Ken Block.
Block is a superstar, famous for his trademark urban rally driving, which has become an internet phenomenon.
In terms of driving style, Ken is as close as it gets to McRae, so with the help of archive footage I wanted to grill him on what made Colin tick.
The pure appreciation of having fun with the car was something that we shared quite genuinely.
we loved to just play with these cars.
It was so aggressive at that time.
Colin was definitely one of my biggest inspirations, because of the way he drove those cars in those days.
This is when I first got interested in rally, just when he'd won the world title.
Switching on TV, you watch this and can't fail to be excited by the style in which he approached the rally stages.
Full commitment, absolutely flat-out, it is spectacular.
'Bravery seems to be a key ingredient in a rally driver's make-up 'and Colin's mantra, "If in doubt, flat-out" often gave him the upper hand.
'But this approach also earned him the nickname "Colin McCrash".
' This is Finland.
I think he crashed three different times in this rally.
There's another one, same rally.
'Colin was also the first rally driver to gain notoriety in the USA, 'helped by his spectacular performance in America's first-ever televised rally.
' Colin came over the first year we had the X Games rally competition.
It was a very exciting time.
Our team-mate was one of the biggest legends in the sport, Colin McRae.
COMMENTATOR: One thing for sure, McRae cannot afford a slip-up Colin made just a tiny mistake, right at the end of the last stage.
COMMENTATOR: And he rolls it over! The most amazing thing for us is you can see him down-shift from second to first as he's rolling the car.
The guy just had so much experience and, hey, if it does land back on its wheels, he wanted to be ready.
Landed on its wheels and he took off.
COMMENTATOR: He's going after it, can he do it? And he lost a second or two.
COMMENTATOR: He doesn't do it, he takes the silver! I just did the transition too much on the jump, it hooked in on the front and over we went.
Dude, Colin McRae is straight-up a god! This guy come out here, throws the car.
I don't even know if he lost time! The guy's amazing! Here we go.
'Another thing Colin is famous for is his computer game.
' Good recovery.
'The legend's franchise sold over 10 million copies worldwide, 'making him a household name.
' Your reactions are quite good, that's good.
'I just hoped my driving would be better in a few days' time, 'when I would be doing this for real.
' I'm not good at talking and driving at the same time.
And we have a decent crash.
My first meeting with the McRae family is at Colin's farm in Lanarkshire.
The house he and his wife Alison made their family home.
Hello.
Alison.
Pleased to meet you.
How are you? I'm good, thank you.
To be here today, meet his family and see where it all started, it's a great privilege.
I heard it's always like this in Lanarkshire.
It's always like this.
'My guide for the next few days would be Colin's dad, Jimmy, 'who, as a five-time British Rally Champion, 'can take some of the credit for his son's glittering career.
' I'm very excited to meet Jimmy.
A legend in his own right.
People talk about him as Colin's dad, but I think they forget that Colin actually used to be Jimmy's son.
He was five-times British Rally Champion, a real icon in the sport.
'To my amazement, Colin's treasured car collection is still housed here.
' It's like an aircraft hanger.
Yeah, yeah.
Wow.
Bigger than your usual family garage then.
Yeah, just a bit.
It's quite a machine to look at.
Definitely, yeah.
Every car we uncovered revealed another part of this fascinating story.
The auto-test Mini he drove, aged 14.
The Talbot Sunbeam he learnt to rally in.
This was built forthe Scottish Championship, it was then.
And his first professional car.
You're slightly bigger than Derek.
The Legacy was the start of his World Championship career.
That was the stepping stone into the world championship.
'But there was one car that Jimmy had a special connection with.
' This looks pretty special.
This is the Sierra Cosworth.
Ah, yes.
This was originally my car.
Won the Scottish Rally with this one, the one-and-only time.
"One careful family owner"(!) 'Rallied by Jimmy, Colin and his brother Alister, 'this family heirloom played a part in all their careers.
' How did he handle that? That's when he beat me, so Pretty well, then.
.
.
he did all right.
"He did all right"! The thing about this car, it's road-legal, so I can take that out just now.
Is that an offer? That's an offer, yeah.
What a treat! 'Jimmy was going to take me back to where it all started for Colin.
'We were going to find out exactly how his son became a rally legend.
' I know a shortcut here.
We'll head up this gravel road a bit.
It's pretty good.
Nice one.
'And I had feeling it might be a bumpy ride.
'Colin's driving ability was obviously in his DNA.
'but I know from personal experience that it takes hard work to get to the top of your game.
'His story starts on two wheels.
'By the age of 13, Colin showed promise on a motorbike 'and had befriended Scottish junior champion Robbie Allan.
' Could you see in Colin straight away this competitive instinct? Was there something about him? The basics of the balance and the throttle control of a motorbike, he had straight away.
What he then was able to do was adapt the skills he had.
He very quickly got to the stage where he was Scottish champion in his age group.
That was within months.
Straight away, that's shown the sort of determination and the competitive edge he had.
'Within a year Colin, had taken the Scottish Junior Scrambles crown 'making a name for himself as one of the best young talents in the country.
' When I was doing BMX as a kid, I always looked up to the older guys, or guys that had beaten me, and think, "What was it they did that was different?" Did Colin look to guys like yourself? The bottom line is, he was better than everybody else in his own age group, so he had to look at where the next target was, the next challenge.
If the challenge was somebody older, more experienced, that's where you go.
It's great to see so many kids out enjoying the facility here.
There could be a Colin McRae of the future out there just now.
A future world champion, in motocross or anything, it doesn't matter.
Even cycling.
You never know! THEY LAUGH But, to his mother's relief, Colin didn't want to be a motorcyclist.
He wanted to follow in his father's footsteps and become a professional rally driver.
Colin, you're 19 now and doing your first Lombard RAC rally.
Uh-huh.
How old were you when you first rallied? Just about four weeks after my 17th birthday.
He didn't waste much time, Tony.
What's it like, Margaret, being surrounded by this lot? My biggest problem is Colin, because I don't think he knows his limitations yet.
He hasn't found his yet.
He has a few rough edges to be filed off.
In 1988, Colin entered the Scottish Rally Championship in a humble Vauxhall Nova, one of the slowest cars in the ten-stage competition that year.
COMMENTATOR: Jimmy McRae set out for what he hoped would be his winning drive in his major home event.
But keeping up with his father's Sierra would be impossible, never mind challenging that year's favourite.
COMMENTATOR: Reigning British champion, David Gillanders, from Aberdeen, back behind the wheel of his four-wheel drive Metro 6R4.
Gillanders drove a Metro that was so powerful it was eventually banned.
But that didn't stop Colin having a go.
Fivefourthreetwoone Go! The speed he was able to get out of that little machine was just incredible sometimes.
COMMENTATOR: Displaying more than a touch of natural ability, Colin McRae, son of British Open champion Jimmy, was the most remarkable result of the day.
Just a few rallies into the season, to everybody's amazement, Colin was keeping up with the big players.
So, Colin, ninth in the Scottish, you must be very pleased? Very, very pleased.
I never thought I would be back here today in this position.
I would have been happy just to win my class.
I thought it would be quite difficult even to get into the top 20 with the competition we had.
What one's the best, though? I'm not going to say! Then Colin and Jim were able to source a Sierra Cosworth.
It was capable of winning and we wanted to do that.
Now McRae junior had a fighting chance of beating Gillanders in his monster Metro.
COMMENTATOR: Gillanders was determined in his attack on the Championship lead.
He raced on to finish over a minute ahead of McRae.
Colin and his co-driver Derek were steadily catching the leader of the pack.
Colin was an iconic driver.
He had that spark that made people want to see him drive.
Two right plus over crest.
All those early days, it was, "This is young Colin, Jimmy's son.
" But it wasn't so long before it was, "This is Jimmy, Colin's dad.
" By the final rally of the '88 season, Colin was poised to win the Scottish title.
If you or Gillanders don't finish today, you win the Championship? If we both retire, we win the championship.
I have to beat him and I think he's like to beat me, as well.
It'll be good fun.
You've been rallying for the same length of time as his age! That's a lot of rubbish.
I've been competitive for about four years.
I've rallied off and on for about 12, so we keep this in perspective.
The 20-year-old was ready for a showdown.
But early in the rally, Gillanders lost control of his mighty Metro.
COMMENTATOR: Disaster for Gillanders, crashing on the first stage.
Out of the rally and the Championship.
With his rival gone, Colin had won the Scottish Championship but in a sign of things to come, he drove flat-out anyway.
COMMENTATOR: The laurels, then, for Colin McRae and co-driver Derek Ringer, and the champagne corks were popping.
It must be annoying for you, cos you were never able to win the Scottish Championship.
It's true - he's done a few things I've never done.
A good omen, maybe.
About half a mile from the end of the first stage, we saw Gillanders piled off in the ditch.
I could hardly drive to the end for laughing.
HE LAUGHS My next meeting with Jimmy is at the Sweet Lamb rally complex in Mid Wales.
Eventually, I'm going to emulate Colin McRae by driving a world-class rally car.
But to get there, I must first learn the basics in a Talbot Sunbeam which is exactly what Colin did.
Basically, this car is a replica of what Colin started with when he was 18 years old.
It's a nice little car.
The basic starting point is, feel the car moving.
If you find the car's not wanting to turn in, just a wee jab of the handbrake To bring the nose in? Yup.
To the handbrake, round that one.
You can just about keep it in a slide all the time.
That's impressive.
Let the clutch back out and back on the throttle.
The wheel spin then keeps the car in momentum on the sideways.
OK.
Throwing a rally car round a corner is like learning an intricate dance routine - something that Colin had down to a fine art.
Everybody's heard of a handbrake turn which we use on a very tight corner.
Normally a hairpin, which is just up here.
Down into second.
First gear, turn, clutch in, handbrake on.
Clutch out, back on power.
You're raring to go, then? 'Back at Sweet Lamb, I was ready for my attempt at cornering.
' Carry on, let's go.
Very good.
You OK? You control the slide with your throttle.
See if you can do a spin round the cone there.
Break.
Throttle.
Keep it going throttle, throttle, throttle.
Throttle.
There you are.
Aye, you're doing all right.
'I could see how Colin's experiences on motorbikes helped him.
'Rallying is all about balancing the car, 'and understanding how it reacts to the slightest of movements.
' This is fun, isn't it? Aye! That's it.
That was good.
Keep it going.
That's it.
'Fortunately, my career on two wheels seems to have stood me in good stead.
' JIMMY LAUGHS You have the hang of the handbrake all right now.
I can see you taking up rallying! This is a lot of fun.
I could do this all day.
I think that was probably the most fun I've had behind the wheel.
Being a hooligan, sliding about in the mud.
Jimmy McRae next to you, telling you what to do.
It doesn't get much better.
He's probably better at that than I would be on his pushbike.
'But riding a bike is a world away from my final challenge - 'driving a World Rally-spec Subaru Impreza.
' It'll be more intimidating, bigger, louder, faster.
But as long as I take it steady, I should be all right and keep it on the road.
That's the most important thing.
I can totally understand why Colin was hooked on rallying.
Right now, I wish I'd taken up rallying.
It's so much fun.
'Colin was signed by Subaru in 1991.
'At the age of 23, he was at last professional rally driver.
' Starting the '91 season with pro driving, Subaru, was a major step forward in both Colin's and my careers.
I don't think it was a surprise.
It was a risk.
Cos Colin was relatively unproven at that stage.
He started out in the British Rally Championship, which he won two years on the trot.
His spectacular driving style endeared him to the fans and fortunately, his new employers had deep enough pockets to keep providing him with new cars.
There were a few ups and downs, but generally, we were quicker than everyone else.
The second year he won the Championship, I think he won every rally.
He started to show the place for Colin was the World Championship.
By the '93 season, Subaru were ready to give their young superstar a shot on the world stage.
It was, after all, 17 years since any other British driver had won a world rally.
It was that important to Colin, that important to the whole sport.
Despite huge investment, the team were yet to win a single rally in the World Championship.
There was a real desperation for this car to win.
Subaru had invested a lot of money in the car, so there was a huge amount of pressure.
But in the car he'd won two British titles in, Colin was totally at ease.
COMMENTATOR: McRae is now right in the middle of that fantastic five-car fight for the lead.
He proved he could fight.
That turned him from a possible leader to the potential winner.
COMMENTATOR: McRae is setting a storming pace.
Over seven seconds faster than any of his opposition on this long, twisting stage.
He moves from fourth to first place.
Francois Delecour closes to within seconds.
Delecour is driving right on the limit.
You could see he felt that this was his time.
COMMENTATOR: McRae fights back as they start the last stage.
At that point, everyone in the team was on tenterhooks.
We were only leading by a handful of seconds.
Derek, can we have your time, please? As the results came in, the final outcome was impossible to call.
It was a nail-biting thing, watching on the other side of the world.
But Colin had done it.
COMMENTATOR: For McRae, a moment to savour.
Success at last.
Your son has just won his first World Championship rally.
It was something very, very special.
It was Colin's first win.
It was Subaru's first win.
It was the start of a new era for Colin and for the team - it really put us on the map.
Colin, you've waited a while for this.
Yeah, the whole team has.
We've been working so hard for three years now.
Just glad we've got it.
I'm sure the rest will come a lot easier.
By 1995, Subaru's fortunes were changing.
They had a powerful new car, the Impreza, and had signed up double-world champion Carlos Sainz to lead the team.
Carlos was able to give us quite a lot of experience as a big driver.
He was able to push the team.
But I don't think we'd have seen the best of Carlos if we hadn't had a young gun like Colin.
My ambition is to be world champion.
If we can continue next year as we have been at the moment, there's a possibility.
To start with, Colin just quietly looked up to him, slightly in awe.
But it didn't last for very long.
Colin was soon determined to knock him off his perch and prove who was the fastest.
An internal battle started to develop between Colin and Carlos.
COMMENTATOR: At the head of the field, it's a Subaru war.
Colin was one of the toughest team-mates I have.
Sometimes he beat me, sometimes I beat him.
COMMENTATOR: Carlos Sainz takes over the lead but he's been caught by Colin McRae.
The young Scot, with Derek Ringer on the pacenotes, is driving an absolute stormer.
With two rallies to go McRae was just ahead of Sainz in the race for the drivers' prize.
We were headed for the world title.
One of our drivers, Carlos Sainz or Colin, would be world champion.
But Subaru were worried that the fight might end in a crash.
In the penultimate rally of the season, the pair were way ahead of the pack when they were ordered to stop racing each other.
I had to say, "Look, guys, I don't need a battle.
"From here on, you'll follow the order you're in now, "so it's team orders.
" But when the order came, Colin was in second place.
We're fighting for the Championship, why should I have to finish second? There are other issues.
We're running a team for Subaru to win the manufacturers' title.
It would be foolish to fight inside the team.
It's the reality of being in a professional team.
Next thing we know, Colin is going flat-out everywhere.
COMMENTATOR: McRae is inspired.
He is going for broke.
You can be sure Colin was never going to give up.
COMMENTATOR: McRae reels him in and overhauls him.
COMMENTATOR: The Subaru team, sensing McRae is pressing on regardless, resort to desperate and dangerous tactics to slow him down.
McRae has other ideas.
In Spain, Colin recorded a faster time than Carlos but his disobedience had jeopardised his chances of winning anything.
It's hard to remember what I said in the heat of the moment, but I'm sure I threatened he wouldn't be at the final round of the Championship in Britain if he disobeyed team orders and we'd just gift the Championship to Carlos.
Colin, on paper, you've won this rally.
Is that the situation.
Yeah.
We've had to book in a minute late now.
So we're second.
So this was categorical team orders? Yeah, that's what it was.
Colin was forced to give the victory to Sainz, meaning they went to the final rally of the season on equal points.
The situation that occurred in Catalunya probably gave us an extra edge on the last round of the Championship.
You're in an enviable position, Colin, being the only Brit to be able to bring the World Championship back to your home country.
I'd be kidding myself if I said there's no pressure.
I just have to deal with it the best I can, get on with it and do the best job I can.
COMMENTATOR: Colin McRae was sounding a loud warning to his rivals.
Determined to become Britain's first-ever World Champion, Colin McRae drove like never before in front of his home crowd.
COMMENTATOR: Again, he was posting faster times than Carlos Sainz.
He gained another 15 seconds.
I can no more at the moment.
I'm driving as fast as I can.
Quite simply, he was unbeatable.
COMMENTATOR: Colin McRae on course for the world title, pushing the Impreza to the limit, sometimes beyond it.
I don't think anybody really took in that Britain had a chance to win the World Rally Championship, then he delivered.
It was the biggest moment for British rallying.
The spectators lined up for it.
It was just incredible to drive through that.
COMMENTATOR: Even the sun came out as Colin McRae steered the Subaru safely home to victory.
Then when we passed the finish line, the feeling of relief was incredible.
Spot on! COMMENTATOR: Then the triumphant return of Colin McRae.
It was to be the start of a very long party.
CROWD CHAN COMMENTATOR: For Colin McRae, the end of an epic journey, 1,500 miles, which has taken him into the motor-sport record books.
The first man in 13 years to retain the RAC title, and Britain's first world champion.
You had to be driving flat-out, did you not? Probably faster than flat-out sometimes.
You'd need to ask Derek.
He'd done what no Briton had ever done before.
And no Scot had ever done before.
He was fiercely proud of that.
And he's become the World Rally Champion.
Soon, I'm going to recreate Colin's famous victory by driving the legendary WRC Impreza.
'For my next lesson, 'I'm at a disused aerodrome awaiting an old friend of Colin's 'Ken Block.
' How are you doing, mate? That's some entrance! Had to get you started somehow.
I'll be driving Colin's Subaru Impreza.
Have you any advice you can give me? The main thing is don't crash Colin's cars! Right.
Basically, one of the big things of learning to drive a rally car is learning the weight transfer, how you put the car into over-steer, how you control it, and get the maximum speed out of it.
You want to get down the stages quick as humanly possible.
Like this.
It may look like a thrill ride, but this rally car has been set up to handle just like a rally car would on gravel.
Using amazing dexterity, Ken was demonstrating how to keep the car perfectly balanced at all times.
Do you still get a buzz out of doing this? Oh, yes! To succeed in the Imprezza, I needed to take note.
Especially as there was just one obstacle left for Ken to tackle.
A Vulcan bomber.
So, Chris.
How did you like it? That was amazing.
Absolutely Like nothing else I have done, honestly.
I was trying to watch you as well as we were going, but literally, it was just so aggressive and full-on, there's tyre smoke coming in, it's an assault on your senses.
This car is a bit more violent, it slides around, it's a little more dramatic than you would like to drive on the gravel, keeping things in a nice straight line and getting as much grip as possible, always a faster technique.
If you can get that mastered in that car, you should be very proud of yourself.
Yes! After his 1995 world title, Colin was at an all-time high.
Where's the bar? And away from the track, he married the girl of his dreams.
Wooing Alison, that was a long-term project, it didn't happen overnight.
Every time I went out at the weekend he was always there, in the background, asking me out.
He wore her down and she eventually gave in.
Colin had it all.
He was the fastest rally driver of his generation.
But his inconsistency opened the door to an up and coming rival.
The new kid on the block was Tommi Makinen, who was driving a Mitsubishi Lancer.
That was the car that began to set the standards for the next two or three years.
Tommi - many, many congratulations, an absolutely superb drive.
Thank you.
Feeling very great, I am very happy.
The Finn beat Colin to the world title in 1996, '97, '98, and '99.
It's an unbelievable feeling.
But Colin and the Subaru team didn't like coming second.
We had as good a car as anybody, probably better at some events, and circumstance just played against him.
It was just a disaster, there's no words can describe it.
When you've fought so hard for so many years, to lose it three Ks from the end of the penultimate event, it's a disaster.
The losses had put Colin's relationship with Subaru under serious strain.
I did try looking after him like my own son, I tried battling with him, arguing with him, shouting at him, coercing him, bribing, I tried anything.
I still want to win rallies and championships, I don't want to have a good wage and finish third and fourth, I want to win.
In the end, the team couldn't stop their frustrated star from seeking pastures new.
Yeah, there was quite an atmosphere, really.
Some of sadness, some of bitterness, upset.
I think it was good for both parties that Colin moved on.
'After a string of near-misses, his new partnership with Ford 'could be just what he needs to take him back to the top.
' Colin's new employers had high hopes for their latest car, the Focus.
They were looking for a very, very high-profile driver for the 1999 season.
I had no problem convincing the Ford management that Colin McRae would be exactly what we were looking for.
Ford made Colin the highest-paid rally driver in history.
'From a wage of ten grand at Subaru in 1991 'to a £3 million a year contract with Ford in 1999.
' It was by far the biggest amount ever paid to a rally driver and of course, the money talked.
But Colin had gone from a proven car he knew well to one with teething problems that was unfamiliar.
'.
.
heading towards a splash' And without the firm hand of his old boss to keeping in check, McRae often pushed his new machine beyond its limits.
Malcolm was our team boss, there's no doubt, and Colin respected that fact, but I think Malcolm couldn't really control Colin.
If you give Colin a couple of inches he will create a mile out of it straight away.
A combination of extreme driving and mechanical failures meant that Colin finished just three out of 14 rallies in 1999.
I think the fact was that when Colin crashed, it generally was end of rally.
But his uncompromising commitment to being the fastest was earning him more respect than ever before.
Sometimes he just pushed a little bit too hard for the win, because he was a winner, and God loves a winner.
Colin's approach - win or bust, fastest stage time or nothing - is exactly what the fans want to see.
It's what made Colin great.
By 2000, Colin had a legendary reputation, but winning championships requires a more calculated approach.
His record could have been even better if he had just taken just a slightly more cautious approach to things.
But away from the madness of rally driving, Colin was growing up.
He and Alison had bought a farm in their home county of Lanarkshire and were starting a family.
And McRae's new-found responsibility was changing him as a driver, too.
Come 2001, he seemed to have finally bonded with his Focus.
It started to come good.
The partnership began to work.
As the season progressed, the car and Colin got quicker and quicker.
But standing in his way was a young English star, driving for his old team.
The battle for the drivers' crown was between Colin and Richard Burns.
I don't really give a damn who is behind me, I want to do the best I can.
I just want to win the championship, it doesn't matter who I beat.
Obviously Richard is going to be one of the most competitive people.
McRae had a big point to prove against the Subaru driver in what was hailed as the "Battle of Britain".
By the final rally of the season, Colin led by a single point.
All he needed to do was to drive faster than Burns and the world championship would be his.
'It was very much a '95 situation.
'There was no doubt in my mind that I was going to win.
' 'That day was more or less just celebrating,' Colin just had to drive round, really.
'Tree, sky, road, tree, sky, road,' bing, bang, bosh.
My word.
What an accident.
But that's Colin McRae.
That was it.
Normally the first thing a driver does is push the start button again but I knew at the time, I knew halfway through the accident, we wouldn't be pushing the start button again, and it wasn't the rally, it was the championship.
Once again, after all the hopes and expectations, Colin had pushed it too far.
It was hard to swallow, it must have made him check himself for the future, to realise how stupid I was to throw that away.
I made a mistake, I cut a corner just a bit too much and there was a hole on the inside and it flipped the car upside down.
Desperately disappointing for you.
It is, we were trying to win the championship, things like that can happen.
Sorry for the whole team, it was so near but we haven't got it again.
All I will say is, take a look at the look on my face.
It was Colin's last real chance at the championship.
Two years later he left the WRC to seek pastures new.
'I am in Merzouga, Morocco, 'where Colin came to prepare for his next big challenge.
' I think a lot of people, when they talk about Colin McRae they think about the world rally but really, his career was very diverse, he took part in a number of aspects of motorsport and the Paris-Dakar rally was one of the biggest ones he was involved in.
'Unable to find the right offer from a WRC team, 'Colin turned to endurance racing, 'finishing third in his class at Le Mons before competing in the Dakar twice.
' The Dakar rally is the ultimate off-road marathon.
The last time Colin entered it in 2005, it stretched from Barcelona, through the deserts of North Africa, before finishing in Senegal.
'It seemed that rather than enjoy a little time off, 'Colin was intent on taking things up a gear.
' How are you? Great.
What was it about the Dakar rally that Colin found so exciting? He had seen from the past, his idol Ari Vatanen had come from rallying and come to Dakar and was very successful.
It's a fantastic challenge, one of the greatest challenges in motor sport, to come and do well in Dakar.
He came actually to here to do some testing in 2004 and 2005, with the Nissan Dakar car, because you have the dunes very close, and you have wide-open desert to the other side, so it was an ideal place.
To me it seems, the thought of me trying to do the Tour de France, I couldn't imagine riding for three weeks in a row, I'm a sprinter, I do short-distance events, to me that's what it seems like for rally driver, used to doing these short, intense stages.
You wonder why you would want to do that.
Because it's a pretty gruelling event.
You're talking about 550 kilometres here on a special stage.
It's pretty hard work.
I was about to get a taste of the world's longest rally, courtesy of Jimmy.
And he lined up a very special vehicle.
Developed by Colin's brother Alister, the McRae Enduro.
This beast of a 4x4 is powerful enough to lug through the finest sand, is able to run for 2,000 kilometres on a single tank, can cool itself in the searing heat, and has suspension that soaks up the toughest of terrains.
Designed especially for the Dakar, the Enduro is quite simply a beast of a car.
I'm sure Colin would have loved to have raced in this.
What the family would have liked to have seen would be both Alister and Colin driving this at Dakar at some point, obviously doing well if we could.
Let's go for it, eh.
I've no idea what the best way to experience what the Dakar rally is other than to get out there in the cars that Colin and the guys would have driven in, just to see what the terrain is like.
But this is quite an intimidating environment to do it in! A lot of the danger is the element of surprise, things that come out of nowhere.
Where's the cup holder? There's no air-conditioning either! Let's do it.
OK! Not bad for a diesel.
Jimmy didn't start rallying until he was in his 30s, and as a result, he missed out on international competitions like the Dakar.
But I had a feeling that had he started a little younger, he would have made a name for himself on the world stage.
It's like a big playground, isn't it? Sadly, Colin never experienced the thrill of his brother Alister's creation.
But at least Jimmy's been able to get his teeth into this 1.
8 ton monster vehicle.
Winning the Dakar requires an equal mix of man and machine and the true test of that was looming on the horizon.
To me, the dunes look like they are the ones you could have some spectacular issues out there.
I think the dunes are the most difficult.
You need the most experience to get through.
And we're heading up there now so I've got very little experience and you've got none! Let's go and have a look.
Scream if you want to go faster.
I'm looking forward to this.
Here we go.
It's looming out of the horizon.
All of a sudden it just starts.
The Sahara desert is an unforgiving place, but it wasn't hard to see why Colin jumped at the chance to rally here.
In 2005, Colin blew the competition away.
By the time he reached Africa, he had built up an unbelievable lead of over five minutes.
And on my adventure Jimmy was also getting into the groove.
I couldn't even see that.
It just came out of nowhere.
The McRae family truly are a legendary dynasty of rallyers.
But the reason Colin was so spectacular was because he pushed his car to the absolute limit.
A few stages from the 2005 finish, he wiped out.
Once again, his flat-out style saw another dream in tatters.
The car dug in the sand and then flipped over.
Back in the desert, I hoped we wouldn't have a similar experience.
But then we got completely stuck.
Where did it all go wrong, Jimmy? You have got handbrake on, haven't you? It's not going to move far! So if this happened in the race itself, obviously you would be doing it with a bit more urgency, but would this be game over? 35 or 40 degrees of heat.
How much effort can you put in to it? My respect for Colin was growing by the minute.
But then we found a magic button that made life a whole lot easier.
So it comes out from the car itself.
That's pretty cool.
Oh, nice.
Thanks to the car's self-lifting mechanism, it was my turn at the wheel.
Keep your foot flat on the throttle.
Keep it there, first gear.
Jimmy is a very brave man.
I wanted to make my teacher proud.
And if there's one thing I've learned from Colin, it's that in these situations, it's best to drive as fast as possible.
I saw you grabbing the side there, Jimmy! I saw you! Wha-hay! That was fun! Our day in the desert was over.
And what a day it had been.
It's been some day.
It has, and a half.
It's been really worth the trip to get here to just see what it was all about.
This is real special Dakar sand dunes.
I apologise for the slight airborne moment we took.
I thought the airborne moment, we were flying home from there! I'm really starting to understand how versatile Colin was as a driver and his ability to turn his hand to anything with an engine, he could get into it and he could do incredible things.
And it was one of these guys, if he was going to do something, he wanted to do it properly.
And he was one of the boys.
as well.
It was a team effort, as far as he was concerned.
People do become specialised in what they do and focus on that and that's all they do, but Colin just seemed to have this ferocious appetite, determination, and he'd turn his hand to anything.
How does it make you feel, and Margaret, when people tell you stories about Colin and about how he impacted on their lives? It makes you very proud.
It's a fantastic achievement.
I'm sure he would have continued with the Dakar.
Today was fantastic.
Thank you very much for that.
I probably won't take up the offer of coming cycling with you.
Any time you want, Jimmy.
Any time! Despite leaving the WRC, Colin continued to follow his dreams and to push himself even further.
By 2006, he was back in Scotland planning a return to rallying but as a budding entrepreneur.
He designed a purpose-built rally car called the McRae R4.
This concept vehicle was to be aimed at the semi-professional market.
After years of work, he debuted car in 2007.
But, the R4 Project was to remain unfinished.
'Former world champion rally driver Colin McRae is feared dead, along with 'three other people, after a helicopter crash near his home in Lanarkshire.
' 'Colin McRae's five-year-old son and two family friends were also killed.
' 'Today, the fatal accident enquiry ruled that the deaths would 'have been avoided if Colin McRae had not taken unnecessary 'and unsafe risks by flying too low, too fast.
' 'It states For a private pilot such as Mr McRae lacking 'the necessary training, experience or requirement to do so, 'embarking upon such demanding, 'low-level flying in such difficult terrain was imprudent, 'unreasonable and contrary to the principle of good airmanship.
' It was really really sad.
I really miss him.
I miss him a lot.
'In a statement, McRae's father Jimmy said he was an inspiration 'and role model to motorsport fans the world over.
' 'Coming to pay tribute, fans and friends of Colin McRae, 'the champion rally driver and sporting hero.
' It was a very long night remembering all those great scenes of Colin in his rally car and great memories together.
It is a massive loss to motorsport and all his friends and family.
The circumstances of the crash are well documented.
But I wanted Jimmy to know his son will always have a place in motorsport history.
It's hard to express the effect his life has had on so many people and the legacy that is left behind.
The generation he inspired that are still rallying now, but the generation seeing him as this icon and true legend of the sport.
To be honest, I don't think Colin realised what type of following he had.
Younger generation drivers that are here today have played the game and it's a way people start in the sport, it's really an honour.
The term "legend" gets used too much these days that it applies absolutely wholeheartedly for Colin.
He certainly makes me proud that he has left the legacy.
Five years after Colin's untimely death, I am going to recreate his most inspiring victory .
.
by driving the same rally stage he clinched the 1995 world title on.
It brings it home just how short life is and the way he lived his life, he tried to enjoy every moment of it and make the most of it, and it's the one thing that comes across every person you meet who knew Colin, he had this passion for life.
And it was infectious.
As a top cyclist, I am used to endless training.
But I am not sure if anything can prepare me for the challenge that awaits.
Taking control of a genuine WRC Subaru Impreza.
In the hands of a professional, this finely tuned four-wheel-drive beast is capable of breakneck speeds no matter what terrain you throw at it.
The stakes couldn't be higher.
But fortunately, I will have Colin's co-driver from 1995 by my side.
Derek Ringer.
Good to meet you.
Good to meet you.
This is your car today.
This is it, the iconic WRC car.
This is what it means.
I am pretty intimidated and quite scared but looking forward to it.
What should I expect in terms of a step up from the Sunbeam to this monster? Well, it would be like going from a Shetland pony to a thoroughbred racehorse.
Let's put it that way.
Excited but nervous.
I want to keep it on, upright, off its roof, and not damage the car but hopefully have a lot of fun.
It's a massive honour to be out there and to get this opportunity to drive alongside Derek and to drive in the seat Colin used to drive in, and do the best I can to do him proud and do Jimmy proud.
OK, Chris.
We're ready to go.
I've got the notes here.
It's quite slippy in places today but we've got some fast corners.
I was finally ready for the drive of my life.
I just hoped I could make Jimmy proud.
Where's the button? Five, four, three, two, one.
It snagged a little bit.
He's come to terms with that pretty quickly.
Very good.
As I attempted to tame the Impreza, I suddenly understood something Colin once said.
If in doubt, flat out.
He's going to be piped in by the bagpiper.
Colin McRae, the RAC Network Q winner, once again.
Bang on time, the champion, the cross of St Andrew waving at Chester racecourse.
Up onto the ramp he comes.
1,445 miles later, he comes back the champion, the winner of the Network Q Colin McRae.
It's mixed emotions coming to the end of his journey and experience of meeting Colin's teammates and his crew, his family and friends.
Still grinning.
You can see me through the windscreen with the teeth poking through the smile.
And the tongue sticking out trying to concentrate.
I've had such a great time, it's been fantastic and I am sad it's over, but also sad Colin isn't here to be part of the whole.
His legend lives on.