Colin Mcrae Tribute at Wembley

By: Anthony Fontanelle

Colin McRae was given an overwhelming tribute on Sunday's Wembley final. Approximately 50,000 individuals paid tribute to the former rally champ who died in a helicopter crash in September. The Scottish rally driver would have competed in the end-of-season spectacular at the new Wembley Stadium.

Colin McRae was the 1992 British Rally Champion and the 1995 World Rally Champion. Rally passion runs in the blood. He was the son of Jimmy McRae, a five-time Rally Champion. Alister, his brother, is also a rally driver and a former champ.

When Race of Champions organizers asked Alister whether he would step into the race-seat vacated by the 1995 World Rally champion, there was no hesitation, reports said.

In between the Nations Cup and Champion of Champions races, his brother's memory was honored. A lone piper played a lament and that was followed by a minute's silence as all 16 drivers lined up on the track specially built inside the stadium. Alister then performed a parade lap in the Subaru 555 that helped Colin win his world title, with the car left in the middle of the circuit for the rest of the event, adorned with a Scottish flag.

"It was always going to be difficult, and so emotional as well as it was only three months since the accident," said Alister. "It is all still a bit raw, but myself and the rest of the family have been coping as best as we can. But we had to give this a go. There were a lot of people here, and it was good to see they thought so much of Colin."

Alister did not have the best of times on track as in the Nations Cup he and teammate David Coulthard were beaten in the first round by Jenson Button and Andy Priaulx for England.

In the Champion of Champions, Alister again went out in the first round, losing to Button. But he was still elated to have taken part, saying: "It's a great event, and to have it at Wembley for the first time was very good. Hopefully it will grow and grow here. It's a good show, and if there were that many people this year, then word will get around and there will be more people next year. I certainly fancy another crack at this next year, and if I am here then it will obviously be under better circumstances."

According to the organizers, there is every likelihood the event will return to Wembley next December. The fans were certainly treated to some awesome racing, with seven-time F1 World Champ Michael Schumacher again a winner.

The 37-year-old teamed up with current Toro Rosso driver Sebastian Vettel to win the Nations Cup for Germany, beating last year's champion Finland in the finals. However, Schumi lost out in the Champion of Champions final to current DTM title-holder Mattias Ekstrom, with the latter retaining the trophy he won at the Stade de France in 2006.

Next season, Ferrari and the will again reflect a rising racing temperature.

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