Shamrock Motorsport driver, Richie Dalton will end his Australian Rally Championship career on a high after a third-place finish in 2022.
Dalton has campaigned the 2019 championship-winning Toyota Yaris AP4 since the start of 2021, finishing on the podium on four occasions this season.
He began his ARC career in the early 2010s and in that time has won a national four-wheel drive title and scored points in the World Rally Championship.
Three Rally of the Bay wins are also important milestones in his career and will look back strongly on his decade around the national championship.
“Last week in Coffs Harbour, I felt at the times (it) wasn’t the perfect weekend for us if I’m being completely honest,” Dalton said.
“I would have liked to have been more competitive than I was, but there was a bigger picture that couldn’t be ignored.
“The chance of finishing off the season in third place behind my teammates Lewis, Anthony, Harry and John and completing a historic 1-2-3 for the Neal Bates Motorsport team was the goal within our grasp if we drove a fast but smart rally. And we did it…so for that, it was the perfect weekend.”
Dalton joined the Neal Bates Motorsport team after purchasing one of the most successful rally cars of its generation and used the ex-Harry Bates car for the last two seasons.
It took the ex-pat Irishman some time to get to grips with the car, but once he turned the corner at the beginning of 2022, he put himself near the top of the time sheets, with stage wins to his name in the latter half of this season.
The fact that his ARC career finishes at the Coffs Coast Rally is quite fitting – he made his championship debut there and has fantastic memories on those famous roads.
“I’ve always had fantastic memories and great results in Coffs every single time I’ve entered,” he added.
“I consider myself very lucky to have achieved so much in 10 years. Scoring points on debut in the World Rally Championship, competing in the 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship, scoring two outright international podiums from two starts and winning the Australian 4WD national title in 2014.”
When Dalton was competing, those around him were quick to point out the inexperience factor, where his speed far outweighed his years of experience.
It seemed at the time he got his hands on the Yaris that he’d been around for a long time, but in fact, there were long gaps in the middle where he wasn’t competing.
The learning curve for him was still as steep as ever, and his rapid rise was a testament to his skill behind the wheel.
After consistency throughout the past two seasons, he was able to secure a fine result in this year’s championship – third overall behind his two teammates.
“Outright stage wins and four podiums in the top level of rallying in this country is something to be very proud of,” he concluded.
Dalton is expected to compete sparingly in the future when it suits his busy business schedule, and with the Toyota and a Ford Escort in his collection, he is expected to still compete in some form.
RallySport Magazine wishes to congratulate Richie on his time in the ARC and look forward to watching him in action again in the future.
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