When mates fight.

When mates fight.
Sometimes, having the perfect team
becomes almost a curse. At least t’s how
it must have felt for Prodrive’s manager
David Richards in 1994 and 1995.
On the last round of the 1994 season,
the British RAC, the spirits rose, as Sainz
was on the cusp of clenching the driver’s
title in a close fight with Auriol at Toyota.
He expected Prodrive would hold McRae
and stop him from fighting for the lead,
making team orders official.
It wasn’t the case and with Auriol
in sixth, Sainz had to win the rally,
yet his teammate was flying in the lead,
with British fans absolutely thrilled.
Assuming that no team orders would
ever be given, Carlos pushed as much
as he could and ended up crashing
and losing the title, while Colin won
his home rally with what was,
for all intents and purposes,
a British team.
Auriol became world champion.
Fast forward to Catalunya 1995,
the penultimate round of the 1995 season,
and things were looking good for Subaru,
after Toyota Team Europe was caught
bending the rules and got excluded.
In the wake of this decision, Prodrive
was leading the constructors table, with
Mitsubishi Ralliart as a close runner-up.
In the drivers’ championship, Subaru boys
were way ahead of everyone, yet close to
each other, so the priority was to ensure
none of them made anything silly.
If they managed to finish first and second,
the constructors title would be
decided there and then.
At the end of the second day,
Sainz was leading with McRae in second,
separated by three seconds. David Richards
then ordered them to keep things as they
were the following day. Allegedly, McRae
didn’t express his discontent, except
to Derek Ringer who told him to
“push on, make no mistakes,
and then we’ll see what happens”.
Dazed with the evidence that
McRae wasn’t holding back,
Richards had members of the team
on stag, in front of the car, trying to
make Colin stop and loose time,
but he wasn’t deterred and went on
to beat Sainz, only to get a penalty
on purpose at the last service, so that
he could be relegated to second.

Sainz and Richards were furious,
but the goal was met, and Subaru
got the manufacturer’s title.
On the last round, once again the RAC,
whether fuelled by rage or simply inspired,
Colin put up a tremendous pace, one that
Carlos admitted he just couldn’t keep.
In the end, McRae was world champion,
the youngest ever. 
Afterwards, the two
rivals would be teammates for another
five seasons, first at Ford and
then Citroën. To get a sense of
how they got along, Sainz
puts it clear and simple:

“He was my best friend ever in rallying.
We’d even spend summer together
with our families."
A beautiful and surprising
footnote, for a story
of respectful rivalry.

So, while you may not be able
to get your hands on some of
McRae and Sainz socks (yet),
you may still get your feet into
some of our best-sellers
within our Dirt Collection.