In like Quinn on the podium

RALLY driver Nathan Quinn enjoyed an eventful weekend at the South Australian round of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) to earn a podium finish.

Championship leaders Simon and Sue Evans clocked up another win but the 24-year-old wasn’t far behind with his co-driver Dave Green, finishing in second place.

After the result Quinn moved to fifth spot on the series standings but is now only nine points behind the third placed team of Ryan and Rebecca Smart.

“I think it was a great effort by ‘Dangerous’ Dave and myself,” Quinn said. “We went into Tweeden in a battle with Mark Pedder and we won out.”

Quinn was able to take the second step on the podium thanks to a very fast second run through on the 32 kilometre Tweeden stage which acted as a bookend for the gravel stages at the Scouts Rally in the Barossa Valley.

The talented driver was pleased that on the final day of the rally the team was within touching distance of the winners.

“On the Sunday we were 30 seconds off the Evans team,” Quinn explained. “On Saturday we were fourth by about 30 seconds off third but the overall result for the weekend was second.”

Not a bad effort considering the rally could so easily have ended for the Allied Air Conditioning Mitsubishi on day one.

“On the Friday we had a bit of a drama as we actually tore the left-hand front corner out of the rally car,” the driver admitted.

“It was the second run of the top 10 shootout we were coming into a corner and turned in a bit early, so I popped the wheel into the side and it turned in and crashed a log.

“We were pretty lucky to actually get through it all. We had to make temporary repairs, welding and all sorts of stuff so it wasn’t up to the game as much as we should’ve been but we got through.”

Another challenge Quinn and Green had to overcome was the fact that it was Quinn’s first time driving on the South Australian roads.

“The roads were a different texture to a forest road, you really had to drive it like a racing car rather than a rally car and it took a bit to figure out where to get the speed,” he said

Once he got into a rhythm behind the wheel, Quinn said there were only two words to describe the way all of the drivers attacked the fourth round of the national championship.

“Flat out,” he said.

“The very first stage we did was 32 kilometres and we did it in 16 minutes and we plugged in the computer and had a look and 75 per cent of that stage was full throttle with a top speed of 192 kilometres per hour.”

While the podium finish was a confidence boost in itself, Quinn said that some feedback from series leader and experienced driver Simon Evans certainly provided an extra fillip.

“He came up and said ‘it takes a few years before you can really get up to speed here and that what we showed for our first time was pretty exceptional’ so that was always comforting,” he said.

With this result behind him Quinn is now ready to attack the vitally important International Rally of Queensland with the Sunshine Coast event doubling as round four of seven in the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) and round five of six in the Australian Rally Championship (ARC).

Along with valuable series points Quinn will be chasing victory in the Pirelli Star Driver program which carries a prize of starting in several rounds of the World Rally Championship in 2011.

Quinn isn’t nervous, though, about the big prize on offer. Instead he’s quietly confident due to his familiarity with the roads.

“I’ve done that rally more than any other rally that I’ve competed at, I’ve done it more than Coffs,” he said.

“This will be my fourth time there and last year we were setting top three times in the Asia Pacific by the end of the rally and that was when we just bought the car so it was our first rally out in it.”

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