Driving ambition: speed freak who plans to shed a finger

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The Independent Online

As he attempts to win back his world title, the rally driver Colin McRae is considering drastic measures.

After severely damaging his little finger in a crash during the Corsican rally last month, the Scot may have the offending digit amputated. The 33-year-old will drive through the pain in this weekend's Catalunya Rally in Spain, but if the injury continues to hamper his driving then he will seriously think about surgery.

Martin Whitaker, director of European motorsport for McRae's Ford team, said: "Colin said to me, 'If the damaged finger does get in the way in Catalunya and we've got four or five rallies coming up that we know we can win, if it's going to be an impediment, I'll just have it taken off'.

"It's not a decision he's going to take lightly, but I think it shows the commitment and level of effort these guys put into their careers."

The finger has not healed as expected since the crash on the penultimate stage in Corsica on 10 March, after which McRae was flown to hospital and treated for a bruised leg and ribs as well as for the damaged finger. He half-heartedly raised the idea of cutting the finger off with the specialist, who immediately told him it would make driving easier.

McRae's devotion to duty is not without precedent. Several boxers, including Frank Bruno, had laser surgery to correct short-sightedness – though in those cases the fighters would not otherwise have been given licences – while in the United States, baseball pitchers have had tendons taken from one arm and put into their throwing arm.

More cavalier was Daniel Chick, 25, an Australian Rules footballer. He injured his ring finger three years ago and continued to have trouble. He was given the option of having the joints fused together, which he regarded as too much of a handicap, or having his finger amputated. So off it came.