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Coffs Harbour rally driver Nathan Quinn celebrated his 24th birthday in style on Good Friday.

His birthday present was his rebuilt Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9 rally car, ready to take on competition in the Australian Rally Championship series. The ‘party hats’ are rally helmets. The ‘balloons’ are the new Kumho rally tyres.

At last year’s ‘Repco Rally Australia’, Australia’s World Rally Championship round,  Nathan showed great maturity with excellent driving skills and  pace that promised a very good outright place against drivers from all over the world.
 
Things looked good until the penultimate stage, when some mechanical woes meant the car had to be converted to ‘only’ front wheel drive.

‘Not a problem’, we might think, but this engine produces a massive amount of torque that is normally delivered to all four wheels, so all of a sudden the front wheels are doing double overtime and component stresses have changed.
Suddenly all five wheel nuts on the right front wheel decide to leave the car. (I’m sure a Professor of Physics can explain why this happened.)

Having spent the last few days in close company with its 5 nutty friends, the right front wheel leaves too!!!
The end result is an excursion into the trees, well off the road and a fair bit closer to sea level!!
Fortunately, Nathan and co-driver David Green emerge unharmed, thanks to the high level of safety equipment in the car.

The car, however, is quite unwell and looks like it will never compete again. In fact it looks like it was on the losing end of a stoush with ‘Aussie’ Joe Bugner,  in his prime (which Joe is still in!).
A sad end to a great run.

But rally people don’t quit easily and the car is taken back to Coffs Harbour, stripped back to a bare shell and painstakingly rebuilt by Nathan’s ‘rally family’, a small group of talented people who can turn their skills to the task.

And so, on Nathan’s birthday, the ‘new’ car is ready to go again with a new colour scheme and looking great with its sponsors’ signs.

So, after some photos near the jetty to record the occasion and a short test session it’s back to the house for some cake and candles.

The ‘Rally Family’ sang ‘Happy Birthday’, the candles expired and the occasion celebrated a birth and a rebirth.
Nathan and David are heading to Perth soon for the Quit Forest Rally and then in mid May, their ‘home event’ the Coffs Coast Rally.

One thing was obvious during the day, the ‘Rally Family’ can build a great car, but singing lessons are needed!!!
 
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