Alister McRae will take part in the Production Car World Rally Championship [PCWRC] category of the Corona Rally Mexico next weekend, here the Scot looks ahead to that event, talks about the new Subaru he will be using and reflects on his second place finish in Sweden...

Q:
Alister, Corona Rally Mexico is new to the World Rally Championship. How do you go about preparing for an event you haven't been to before?

Alister McRae:
You try and talk to as many people as possible who have been out there, including works teams personnel, and get as much information as you can.

The truth is that you won't learn a great deal until you get out there, but the more preparation and homework you can do the better. Then, once you are out there, it is critical to get your pace-notes right during the recce.

With just two passes allowed and the recce being held over such a short time it is going to be tight to get everything spot on. It's going to be crucial not to have any problems during the recce so that we can spend every moment possible in the stages. But that's part of the challenge.

Q:
What have you been told?

AM:
It sounds like the rally will be a mix of the conditions we get in New Zealand, which means fast, flowing gravel roads, and Argentina, which tend to be a bit rougher and more technical.

Happily, both of those are events that I have always enjoyed in the past. It's not like Sweden, which is quite specialised because it is on snow, so the gravel should make it more of a level playing field for everyone.

It should be a drivers' event, where talent rather than prior experience or anything like that shines through. I'm looking forward to it.

Q:
Do you enjoy new events?

AM:
It's always exciting to go somewhere new. In the past I've had some good results on my first attempts at rallies, so I'm confident that I will be able to make some good pace-notes and challenge at the front.

It also gives us all some new challenges. For instance, there are also some stages that will feature quite high altitudes, which will restrict the engines and make them feel a bit sluggish compared to how they are normally.

Q:
How much of a step forward is the new car?

AM:
The differences are small but significant. The engine has more power and torque and the bodyshell is 20-30kg lighter.
I will drive the car for the first time when I get to Mexico, for about half a day. That should be more than enough to get used to the subtle differences, and also give us a chance to try a few different things with springs and so on that we wanted to have a look at after Sweden.

Q:
How much of a confidence boost was your second place in Sweden?

AM:
It was a great start to the year, particularly given it was my first rally in quite a while and my first time in a Gp N car for some time.

Second place has given me a great boost, because I can't think of any time on the rally when I had a moment where I thought I might crash. I wasn't really pushing and I was still able to take second and set some fast times.

Now I've had some more time in the car I think I should be able to push a bit harder and go for the win.

Q:
Is the championship situation on your mind?

AM:
Obviously I'll think about it according to how the results are panning out, but to win the title you need to win events - and that means driving at 100 per cent all the time. There's no chance of easing off just yet.

With only six events in the championship you can't really afford a retirement, so you always have to think cautiously, but at the pace you need to be going at to win you have to take some risks.