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Current Australian Rally Champion, Nathan Quinn, will contest his second New Zealand Rally Championship round in a row with a surprise entry in June’s Canterbury Rally. After driving a rented Ford Fiesta R5 at the Rally of Whangarei, Quinn will get behind the wheel of Richie Dalton’s Ford Fiesta Proto for round three of the championship. Dalton is nursing broken ribs after his accident in Whangarei, and has generously handed the keys to Quinn. “I am extremely fortunate and grateful for the opportunity,” Quinn told RallySport Magazine today.
Nathan Quinn

Nathan Quinn will drive Richie Dalton's Ford Fiesta Proto in the Canterbury Rally. Photo: Dave King

“Richie and Shamrock Motorsport have really looked after me well. I cannot wait to be back in a rally car, and while a different Ford, at least the insides should remind me of my past.”
Quinn said he contacted Dalton to check on his health after the Whangarei crash, and things progressed from there. “While not a ‘works drive’, it’s a pretty big thing he has done to help us out to get to another event. We both hope that this will benefit both parties. “With the variety of cars I've driven I’m possibly the only Aussie to have driven a Group N, PRC, WRC car, R5 car and now a Proto!!
Richie Dalton Otago Rally

Richie Dalton will miss the Canterbury Rally because of broken ribs. Photo: Peter Whitten

“The seat time and event experience will be important, and who wouldn’t want to drive a 6-speed paddle shift rally car?”
While Dalton recovers, both parties are hoping that valuable testing and evaluation of the car will provide big gains in speed. Dalton was fast in the car at the Otago Rally until engine failure halted his progress, while his Whangarei accident curtailed any chance of further developing the Proto. “In return I hope to get the maximum kilometres out of the car so they can continue to develop it,” Quinn added.
Nathan Quinn at Rally Australia

Nathan Quinn won last year's Australian Rally Championship in a Lancer Evo 9.

“I can give feedback on set-up and performance, and ideally have the car in a position where Richie can be confident with set-up and reliability going into South Canterbury.” Quinn expects to have only a small test session before the event, but says his entry into the rally is to get the car to the finish in one piece, rather than to push for a victory.
“I drove the R5 with less than 40km of testing, and the Mini WRC car with less than 50km. At least this time it’s a right-hand drive car!
“All reports say the roads are forestry and rougher than your typical Kiwi shire stages. Perhaps being an Aussie hack it might really suit me, as our rallies are nearly all forestry.
Nathan Quinn and co-driver Dave Calder. Photo: Geoff Ridder

Nathan Quinn and co-driver Dave Calder. Photo: Geoff Ridder

“What will be a challenge is the potential of snow, as well as night time stages and a single pass recce,” Quinn said. The one-day The Lone Star Canterbury Rally is the third round of the 2018 New Zealand Rally Championship and will run on Sunday, June 3. WRC star, Hayden Paddon, will be absent from the rally due to his commitments with the Hyundai factory team, giving the rest of the field a better chance of victory.  
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