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Stars set to pay tribute to Colin McRae.

Colin McRae will be remembered in real style on Saturday as a star-studded line-up, including 15 rally greats, will take in the Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally and pay tribute to the 1995 World Rally champion.

McRae tragically lost his life in a helicopter crash on September 15 last year, which also claimed the life of his five-year-old son, Johnny, as well Johnny's friend Ben Porcelli and family friend Graeme Duncan.

This weekend's event will be a way of paying homage to the Scot, who won 25 WRC events during his career.

Ex-world champions Hannu Mikkola, Ari Vatanen and Stig Blomqvist will all drive Mk2 Ford Escorts, while Bjorn Waldegard, who helped Ford win its first manufacturers' world title in 1979 in an Escort, will also compete.

Other big-name drivers at the wheel of Ford Escorts include Colin's younger brother, Alister McRae, Malcolm Wilson, Travis Pastrana, Ken Block, Kris Meeke and Russell Brookes.

BP Ford Abu Dhabi World Rally Team director, Malcolm Wilson, who was McRae's boss during his time with the official Ford team from 1999 to 2002, is looking forward to the event.

"The calibre of drivers coming to pay tribute to Colin is a mark of the esteem in which he was held," said Wilson. "I'm honoured to be among Colin's former friends and rivals at what will be a remarkable occasion."

Wilson's son, Matthew, a driver for the Stobart VK M-Sport Ford team in the WRC, will also compete. The 21-year-old will drive a 2005-specification Focus RS World Rally Car.

Fittingly the most popular car in the entry list is the Ford Escort - with 52 examples set to start - and in total of the 140 entrants, 70 will be at the wheel of Fords.

"We are proud to be so heavily represented with some iconic Ford models at such an evocative event in the rallying calendar," added Mark Deans, Ford of Europe's motorsport director. "Colin McRae was a great ambassador for both Ford Motor Company and the sport of rallying and an inspirational figure to a generation of supporters."

This year's event starts and finish in Perth with a service halt at Aberfeldy and the route includes five of the most evocative stages in British rallying including three of Colin's favourites at Craigvinean, Drummond Hill and Errochty.

The Colin McRae Forest Stages Rally is also the final round of the 2008 County Saab Scottish Rally Championship at which this year's national champion will be confirmed.


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