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From the BBC

McRae rallies round Burns
By Chris Charles


Former world rally champion Colin McRae says the illness suffered by Richard Burns has put his own problems into perspective.

McRae, without a drive this season, revealed he has been to visit his old rival as Burns recovers from cancer.

It is fair to say there was no love lost between the pair when they battled it out on the track - particularly after Burns clinched his own world title in 2001.

But since the Reading driver was diagnosed with astrocytoma - a virulent form of brain tumour - they have become closer.

"I've been to see him in hospital a couple of times," McRae told BBC Sport.

"It's been a very tough time for Richard, but he's almost finished his treatment and he's being really positive about it.

"It's things like this that makes you appreciate what's really important in life."

McRae, 36, was tipped to take Burns' place at Subaru, but was passed over in favour of Finland's Mikko Hirvonen.

Yet the Scot insists he is not bitter and has enjoyed spending more time with his family.

"It was getting to the stage where I wanted to have a bit of a rest," he explained. "It's been 10 years full-on, which is quite a long time."

McRae, who won his solitary world title in 1995, has been keeping a keen eye on this year's championship, and admits he was disappointed at losing the record for most rally victories to Carlos Sainz.

"Carlos' win in Argentina took him to 26 victories. Until that point we were equal. I phoned him straight away for having the cheek to take it away from me!" he said.

"It's going to be a long time before anyone beats it but you never know, I might come back and win another one.

"Having said that, if someone offered me a drive for next season I probably wouldn't take it.

"I'm quite enjoying relaxing with my family at the moment and having some normality in my life."

McRae has kept his hand in by competing in the Paris-Dakar Rally and the Le Mans 24-hour event this year.

"I really enjoyed the Paris-Dakar," he said. "I had two stage wins but then had to retire because of reliability problems, which was a real shame.

"It was a great result for me to get on the podium at Le Mans. I certainly had no problems keeping awake - it's quite easy when you're doing 100mph in the dark!"

McRae, who was speaking at the launch of his new computer game - Colin McRae Rally 2005 - could be back for both events next year but will not be making any decisions about his long-term future just yet.

"It's nice to come back down to earth for a while and catch up on things you've missed out on, but I'll have a think for a bit and then have a look around and see what's available.

"I'm not retired yet, that's for sure."

Published: 2004/08/10 11:25:46 GMT

© BBC MMIV
 
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