McRae ready for Dakar challenge

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The Independent Online

Colin McRae, the former world rally champion, "cannot wait" to start the challenging 6,800-mile Dakar Rally. The Scotsman has opted to compete in the endurance classic after being left without a drive in the World Rally Championship, which he won in 1995.

McRae will be driving a Nissan pick-up in the epic 18-day trek from France to Dakar in Senegal, which begins tomorrow.

McRae likened the event to the now-defunct Safari Rally which pitted WRC cars against the Kenyan sand. "The car will be radically different to what I am used to, but this is all about taking on a new challenge and I am really looking forward to it," he said. "Now I will have the chance to tackle a true endurance event, and I cannot wait, in all honesty."

One challenger to McRae is the reigning champion, Hiroshi Masuoka, who will again drive a Mitsubishi. Mark and Paul Round will join McRae in flying the British flag, as will fellow Land Rover drivers Paul Green and Daniel Upton.