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Interview: Nathan Quinn

Nathan Quinn's victory in South Australia was his first at ARC level. Photos: Peter Whitten

Coffs Harbour’s Nathan Quinn took his first Australian Rally Championship win in South Australia recently, and spoke to RallySport Magazine about his journey so far.

A driver with unquestionable talent but, as with many drivers before him, with limited funds to assist his rallying, his road to the top hasn’t always been easy or trouble-free.

Success in South Australia has given him a realistic chance of winning this year’s national championship, and with the final round in his backyard, you’d be a brave person to bet against him.

RSM: Congratulations on your first ARC win. How does it feel to finally break the duck?

NQ: Feels good, a relief at last and couldn’t have come at a better time. It feels even better knowing there is bugger all work to do on the car before Coffs, but I’m sure I’ll pull stuff apart before Rally Australia. It’s not a rally without a mad last minute rush!

What have been the biggest hurdles you’ve faced on the way to your first win?

We barely got to the rally. Our trailer collapsed the night before departure while we were getting fuel to leave. May I add I don’t own a trailer, it is loaned to us by a very generous team member, Matt Nash, and his parent Ralf and Alison. Massive credit to them over the last 10 years of trailer hire.

Than our accommodation for the rally got cancelled… trusty Mum jumped on her broom and got that sorted before the crew knew about it.

Finally, my flights got cancelled and it was an epic 12- hour day in the Qantas Club, so a big thanks to Mark Beard.

After all this it was smooth sailing really. We hadn’t had such a smooth event since Rally Australia 2015. This is a credit to the crew and fresh assistance from a “green army” and DashSport.

Who are some of the instrumental figures in your career and team on the way to this success?

The old man got me all started. I vaguely remember the excitement, adventure and mystery of the sport from all the guys in his team as a child. So, credit to Mum and Dad who have stuck by me. At times, I’m sure they wish they could just walk away.

Before I got started in rallying the old man was very, extremely, sceptical about my need to do the sport. I couldn’t have convinced him without the aid of some of his lifelong friends found in rallying.

Since then I’ve always looked up to many drivers, but most of my motivation is driven by the people that support me.

Specific mention (apart from my folks) goes to Matty Nash, Evan Bollard, Janah McLean and my first sponsor Sean Broadbent. These guys have put up with me for nearly the entirety of my 10 years rallying. A lot of opportunities arose from just them.

You had a new engine in the car for SA. Did this give you an advantage that you didn’t have at other events?

We were very fortunate to receive some much-needed support from a previous ARC champ, who put us forward to a group, which in turn landed us in the caring hands of DashSport.

Dash did a great job molesting our car’s engine and management system. The fresh eyes and new parts made the difference at Lightforce Rally SA. I’m sure it will make the difference when I can really push hard in Rally Australia.

You are now in with a realistic shot at winning the ARC this year. Has the plan for Rally Australia changed?

We are in firing distance. If you do the math, though, we still need a couple planets to align. Who doesn’t want Mitsubishi to prevail over Subaru again?

As for a game plan, we have to go faster than before and make sure we come home first. It’s a huge order, and we can’t take any chances.

This could be my only ever opportunity to become ARC champ, so I’m not going to let it fall by the wayside. I’ll be giving my all to the very last control.

It would be by far the ultimate thank you to my family, team, friends and Coffs Coast … what better place to do it? Perhaps the title would clear all my “barter tabs” 😉

What would winning the ARC mean for a small team from Coffs Harbour running on a tight budget?

We may be on a smaller budget, but I can tell you we have the greatest time together as a team, even stuff we get up to preparing the car. If we can win, it’s just icing on the cake.

We have always strived to use our sporting efforts to lead Coffs Coast by example … always persevere, never give up!

Regardless of the result this year, what are the plans for Nathan Quinn for the 2018 season and beyond.

2018, not sure. I can be indecisive, and I tell you budget aids indecision!

This year started off with a one-off ARC event in Victoria, and Eli (Evans) said you should just register, you never know what could happen. So here we are!

While I’d like to think I could do it again in 2018, sadly I think many pockets could use a break.

I still have many aspirations as a driver at national, international and World Championship level … I’m most certainly not finished.

Peter has been the editor of RallySport Magazine since its inception in 1989, in both printed and online form. He is a long-time competitor, event organiser and official, as well as working in the media.

1 Comment

1 Comment

  1. Wayne Sands

    September 25, 2017 at 12:16 pm

    There must be a sponsor out there to pick this guy up. It’s sheer talent that’s got him this far. Just imagine what a decent budget would do !!

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