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“It’s purely a financial decision, I still have a drive to rally” was Nick Box’s simple explanation on his decision to step away from the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship.
 
Having burst onto the national scene at last year’s Rally Calder where he claimed a surprise podium finish alongside Michael Boaden and Tom Wilde, Nick Box has spent the last two years reveling in the competition of the ECB ARC.
 

In 2012 he campaigned a zebra stripped Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, and despite a massive roll over at his home rally in Western Australia, he bounced back to compete in Queensland and South Australia.
 
With the outright regulations moving from four-wheel to two-wheel drive Box looked to do something a little different in 2013 and despite development delays would debut his locally built and developed Nissan 370Z at the Forest Rally.
 
“The last two years doing the ARC I’ve really paid for the majority of the costs and that has taken a fair toll,” stated Box who damaged his engine in South Australia and struggled to match the leading contenders pace in both Queensland and Coffs Harbour.
 
“The biggest reason though is I just can’t afford to run at the levels the other teams do to do well,” he said referring to the outright Honda’s and Renault’s. “If the money came along though it’d all change overnight.”
 
“I just can’t see myself rallying in 2014,” he said with clear disappointment.
 
It will be disappointment too for rally fans who loved the sideways action of the rear-wheel drive Nissan and the throaty roar of the normally-aspirated V6.
 
“The thought has come up to sell,” Box added. “But I’d still like to drive it though.”
 
Ahead of the debut at the Forest Rally earlier this year Box and his team had been developing a sister car, an identical 370Z.
 
“Both cars were progressing along at the same pace but the week before the Forest Rally this year we really had to make a decision which one we were going to focus our efforts on so we went with the red one and put the silver one to one side,” commented Nick.
 
“The second car is essentially complete. It’s missing a few bits but nothing more than a weeks work to get it rally ready.”
 
“The most disappointing thing is we had the budget to build the cars, no expense spared, but then when we got to the point where the car was built we had no budget left to actually run it.”
 
Neal Bates had even gone as far as to sit in with Box at the test day in Queensland commenting that he thought the car was on the heavy side but had plenty of pace left to be found.
 
“It’s the sort of car that has the potential, unfortunately to unlock that potential you need money to invest in development and testing,” Box said.
 
So with the future looking light on for rally outings has Box resigned himself to following the sport from home? “Obviously every time you go to a rally and are forced to be a spectator it’s hard to take as a driver, you just want to be out there driving!”
 
“I still really enjoy rallying and I’ve still got my Evo 9 from last year, so maybe I’ll look to do a local rally here or there to keep me involved,” he added.

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