Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart today announced that following consultation between the team surgeon, specialists and Alister McRae, it has been decided that Alister will not take part in the 2002 Rally New Zealand.
At the suggestion of the Team Surgeon, Miss Julie Doughty, Alister underwent further checks on his return to the UK from Rally Sanremo. These checks revealed bruising to his liver. While not a severe injury, it is nonetheless significant and the recovery process calls for complete rest for at least two weeks. Miss Doughty and specialists in the UK have therefore advised that he should not drive a rally car for a minimum of one month, as this would hinder the recovery process.
"It was a fairly big fall," said Alister. "I went over the handlebars and landed on my back on a downhill section I use quite a lot. I went to Accident and Emergency, for the first time since I was a kid, and was given the all clear. I took it easy prior to the rally but it took more out of me that I thought it would. The team withdrew me from Sanremo to recover and the team surgeon suggested I had some more checks when I got home. It was then that the bruising was discovered.
"Recovery shouldn't be a problem though, as long as I take it completely easy for a few weeks. It's a shame to miss New Zealand as it is my favourite event but I hope to be back in the car by Australia."
Team Director, John Easton said; "I know Alister will be disappointed not to be competing in New Zealand, as it is an event that he enjoys and excels on. However, his health is obviously the most important thing and the team wishes him well for a quick recovery."
As a result of Alister's withdrawal, Marlboro Mitsubishi Ralliart will enter Jani Paasonen and co-driver Arto Kapanen in his place.Published 24 September 2002