Copyright 2001 www.tombraiderchronicles.com

[ November 17th 2001 ]

Richard Burns has hit back in his war of words with Colin McRae by claiming his British rival is the Lara Croft of world rallying. Burns who will battle it out with the Scot for World Championship glory in the Network Q Rally said many people believed McRae was a character in a Play Station game.

"Colin has had his game out for a few years now and there are people who think he is like Lara Croft, they don't know he is a real person," said Burns. "They have done market research on it."

The joke at his title rival's expense is his response to McRae's latest jibe that Burns would be too big-headed to fit his head into a normal car should he snatch the drivers' crown. McRae admits he enjoys winding his fellow Brit up, the mind games taking the form of boozy late night phone calls or wearing a T-shirt on this year's Safari Rally depicting Burns wiping his shoes.

Burns insists the duo are on friendly terms and believes the psychological ploys prove the Ford Focus driver fears the challenge his rally rival will pose. "Colin and I get on reasonably well. It's cool between us, but every now and again some snidey comment comes out and I do wonder why that is," said Burns.

"We were on holiday this summer, he was with his family and I was with some mates and we just met up but a week later he went to the Safari Rally and he came out with a derogatory T-shirt he had made himself about me. What was the point of that. And it's having a very good psychological effect because he hasn't beaten me since. It's good schoolground banter isn't it? It's not psychological warfare.

"I think Colin has sort of created this thing about him being this great sports psychologist, about being able to outwit the opposition. It involves cartoons and calling me names so far so I'm not sure about how deep it goes. If Colin wants to call me names, he can call me names. If he wants to stick his head in the door before a stage, he can stick his head in the door.

"But I genuinely believe he'd be a lot better off concentrating on his job without worrying about me. I find it nice because I am providing more of a distraction for him than he is for me. He doesn't get to me, but it confuses me because he is not like a nasty guy. Colin tries to wind me up. When Colin is winning he is very good at putting other people down. And Colin when he is losing doesn't do it very well. You only try and put people down if you think they can beat you so in a way it is a compliment.

"You could say he feels threatened because we are the people most likely to damage his chances of the championship or we are British and he doesn't want us to be better or whatever."

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