One-off outing in an Overdrive Nissan
The former World Rally Champion will share the cockpit of his pick-up with Belgium's Jean-Marc Fortin.
Just months after its creation, the Grégoire de Mevius-directed squad has announced a top recruit for the end-of-May fixture
in Colin McRae.
"Colin and I met more or less by chance," relates the Belgian team boss. "He told me how much he would really like to experience the atmosphere he found in the world of rally-raids again. I suggested that he drive one of our Nissan pick-ups on a baja and he took me up on the offer."
The operation represents a big challenge for Overdrive: "Colin McRae has one of the most successful records in rallying," commented Grégoire de Mevius. "In the course of his career, he has driven with the very best teams. I think it's the prospect of making his competition come back with a non-works outfit that appeals to him. He seems totally relaxed and excited by the idea in any case."
"We will do all we can to make sure he feels at home with us," continued de Mevius. "This is a one-off operation but we hope Colin quickly finds his marks with the car. To this end, we have planned a test session aimed at giving him a chance to familiarise himself with our pick-up which is in fact identical to the Nissans we entered for the 2007 Dakar.
The event the Scot will contest will be no stroll: "The Rali Transiberico [May 31-June 3] is the toughest of all the European bajas," says de Mevius. "The route, which straddles Portugal and Spain, is particularly long, equivalent to three complete rounds of the World Rally Championship! The dirt tracks used by the event are mostly lined with trees which doesn't make overtaking easy. The super-special prologue promises to be extremely important since it will determine the following day's start order. The entry is also likely to be very strong."
Colin McRae's co-driver for this one-off appearance will be Jean-Marc Fortin who is no less delighted than his associate at Overdrive. "I can think of plenty of co-drivers who would jump at the chance to compete alongside one of world class rallying's icons. McRae continues to be a worldwide star and I spent some time with him in the same team at Ford. He is perfectly charming, just a totally straightforward guy who loves driving and who never hesitates when it comes to rolling up his sleeves and getting under the car to work on the mechanicals if called for. And that's a valuable plus on rally-raids."