The Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team – An afternoon with Alister McRae


Alister McRae

When I arrive at the restaurant for an interview with Alister McRae, I begin to panic a little. I’m really quite unprepared for this interview. I’ve met the team countless of times but never for a proper sit down interview. And he’s with Bill Hayes. They’re having Japanese for lunch.

Still, thanks to my colleague who was there for support and my trusted tape recorder, I think we made some progress…:)

It wasn’t easy. Especially when the guys made us laugh most of the time.

Q : What’s the best part of being a rally driver?

Alister : Driving a rally car. I think probably the best part of being a rally driver is watching the containers get locked and shipped off after a rally is over; knowing the guys from the team are locked in there for a few weeks….(grins).

We’re already laughing.

The waiter brings over my watermelon juice.

“Is that a watermelon juice? I’ll have one too.” Alister says, eyeing my drink.

I try again with the interview.

Q : Ok seriously, what’s the best part of your job?

Alister : Seriously? The best part of the rallying is driving the rally car in the stages, trying to get the best time from the start to the finish of the stage.

Q : How long does it take to complete pacenotes after a recce?

Alister : Bill’s got a lot of work to do tidying up pacenotes after recce and he takes quite a while. All co-drivers go through and check the notes to make sure it’s written in the right position and easy to read.

…And they’d like the drivers to think they work very hard!

Bill : Really, I’m just colouring in my book.

Q : Do you get thrown around a lot in the car?

Alister : A lot of safety measures are implemented into the rally cars, and we are well fastened. Sometimes we do get shaken up a little bit and that could cause some strain in the body especially areas around the neck.

Q : What do you think of PROTON’s involvement in motorsports?

Alister : I think it’s very good of PROTON to get involved in rallying. These cars are used to improve PROTON’s existing products, i.e the rally cars are used to test extreme road conditions, weather etc. This contributes towards making better and improved cars for PROTON.

Alister at APRC Malaysia Shakedown

Q : In the 80’s, rallying was a huge sport in Malaysia and began to wane in the nineties. What do you think the organizers should do to raise the level of awareness and interest in this sport?

Alister : Marketing is very important; through rallying events and the cars it is possible to reach a wider audience. People should know when the rallies are and should be equipped with enough information. Market the events and the spectators will come back.

Q: What do you like about this country?

Alister : I like the rain. But not while we’re rallying! We don’t get much rain in Australia. The people in Malaysia are also very nice.

Q : So what do you think of your teammates Chris and Stephane?

Alister : They’re both very good teammates. Chris is a fast driver with lots of experience in WRC with Subaru and Stephan’s more experienced and done more rallies than most of us. Bill’s the oldest and most experienced and mature team member among us. Stephan’s quieter than Bill. Bill’s the chatty one.

Q : What do you do when you’re not driving?

Alister : I have a driver training business in Australia. I am also involved in importing motorsports parts. Besides that, 5 days in a week I also train to be fit for the rally.

Alister and Bill ‘behind the wheels’

Q : How do you keep fit?

Alister : I do a lot of cycling and training in the gym. I also like to ride motor cross bikes.  I’m easily bored if I do just one thing.

Q : How long have you been apart from the family?

Alister : Too long. We’ve been here for almost 2 weeks and I will probably be back with the family in Perth for two to three weeks at the very least. It’s not easy.

We do the driving but at the end of the day we look forward to getting back to our families.

That last reply was sweet. Indeed, it’s going to be a busy year for the team, but it’s going to be an awesome one – continuing with the next APRC round in Japan this month.

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About Proton Motorsports

PROTON Motorsports is dedicated to bring together motorsports enthusiasts to experience PROTON's journey around the toughest motorsports events around the world.

Posted on May 4, 2010, in General, Proton R3 Malaysia Rally Team and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. 1 Comment.

  1. I like the approach you took with this article. It’s not often that you simply find something so concise and informative.

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