Australian Rally Champion Nathan Quinn’s title defence could be over before it has even started, with no firm plans for any rounds of the 2018 championship.
The Coffs Harbour driver won the 2017 title after a fast and consistent season that saw him secure his first national championship at the final round, Kennards Hire Rally Australia.
But it was a consistent struggle to find the money to fund his title-winning campaign that looks like snookering the popular Quinn before a wheel is even turned in 2018.
“To be honest, as the year progressed into a giant domino effect of ARC events, I was well aware that come 2018, the bank accounts will need a much-needed rest,” Quinn told RallySport Magazine.
“In fact, there were many individuals that kicked the tin for us this year (2017) and we actually couldn’t have got as far without them. So, 2018 may well see us competing in just low key classic events.”
Nathan Quinn celebrates his ARC title win with co-driver Ben Searcy. Photo: Geoff Ridder
Quinn’s championship-winning Mitsubishi Lancer Evo 9, affectionately known as “Shirley”, was actually sold mid-year, after serving the team well since 2009.
“We have a few loose ends to tidy up, then comes the sad day of passing her onto her new owner. We are planning a big farewell party,” Quinn said.
“However, I won’t be buying a new car outright next year, so will be looking at leasing options.”
Despite the sale of the car and a lack of funds, Quinn does still have big plans, including in New Zealand and Europe.
“I do have aspirations to go again with the ARC, and I also like the idea of doing a ‘reverse Possum Bourne’ and taking it to the New Zealand Rally Championship.
“Ultimately, I would like to have a run in a couple of European WRC events, but as per usual ‘Nathan Quinn style’, I’ll know a little more by the close of entries for 2018’s first event,” he added.
Whatever events he competes in, Quinn plans on using a combination of co-drivers, with experienced note callers Ben Searcy and David Calder first on the list.
For classic events close to home, he’s likely to call on a selection of family and friends to sit in the left-hand seat of his Mazda RX2.
A fast and consistent year saw Nathan Quinn win the 2017 Australian Rally Championship. Photo: Geoff Ridder
2017 saw Quinn’s Coffs Coast Rally Team receive incredible support from family and friends to ensure the team’s Lancer Evo 9 was prepped and ready for each event during the season.
But it’s the chasing of sponsorship dollars that continues to be the team’s biggest stumbling block.
“In all seriousness, we become so heavily occupied with being able to compete in a rally and maintaining the car that we have no resources to work on sponsorship,” Quinn explained.
“One of my goals is to activate sponsorship, but that’s easier said than done.”
Regardless of the outcome in this regard, his mantra for 2018 will be the same as it was in 2017 – to “keep the fun, keep the adventure”.
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