Former WRC works driver and British Rally champion Alister McRae will return to a manufacturer's rally car and an FIA championship next month, as he drives the official Proton-entered Satria S2000 on Rally Indonesia.
The Scot, who now lives in Australia, has been selected to challenge Asia-Pacific Rally Championship stalwart Cody Crocker on the penultimate round of this year's series, taking the fight to the Group N driver.
The manufacturer is contesting the second half of the 2009 Asia-Pacific Rally Championship with the Mellors Motorsport-developed Satria S2000 and ran local driver Karamjit Singh on the recent Rally Malaysia. However, it selected McRae for the penultimate round of the series, no doubt in part due to his performance in the Toyota Corolla S2000 on Wales Rally GB in 2007.
On that occasion, the Scot took the majority of class stage wins in the RED-run Toyota but failed to reach the finish of the event. This time round, he is anticipating a better run, as the Satria has already contested several events, including the Intercontinental Rally Challenge, with British Driver Guy Wilks at the wheel.
McRae was in the UK recently for the Rallyday event at Castle Combe and he had the opportunity to drive the Satria for the first time.
"I drove the car briefly for familiarisation and I have to say, it feels very good," he said. "I'm looking forward to being back in a works car in an FIA series. When you look at the Satria in the IRC, it's very competitive and it will be very good to be in a car that is capable of giving Cody [Crocker] a run for his money in Indonesia.
“He has stormed the event and the As-Pac championship for the last three years, so we're aiming to break that cycle.
“That said, it's not going to be easy. He's done the event three years in a row and knows it very well, as it's essentially the same rally every year. For me, it will be a new rally and a new car so it will be difficult to beat him.
“But if we can go there, get the times in, not be too far away from him and get a good result, I'll be happy."