The world awaits
THIS time last year Nathan Quinn was ranked as the 184th best rally driver in Australia.
Today the 21-year-old is rated number 15 and in the words of Molly Meldrum is “headed for the top 10 with a bullet”.
Quinn heads to Canberra this weekend for the second round of the Australian Rally Championship (ARC) ready to race around the dirt roads in the hills in his Mitsubishi Evo 5 with co-driver Ben Atkinson calling out from the notes.
Although still negotiating the purchase of a newer Evolution 9 Lancer, the Quinn team are expected to be highly competitive in this year's ARC and the team will use it as a platform to step up to the two international events being held in Australia this year, the Rally Queensland in May which is a round of the Asia-Pacific championship and the Repco Rally Australia in September which will count towards the World Rally Championship.
Young Quinn has also nominated for the Pirelli Star program which requires him to compete in Indonesia this year.
Successful ventures in both Indonesia and Brisbane could see the local lad in a factory-backed Ford Focus in six rounds of next year's World Rally Championship.
To achieve this though, the ageing Evolution 5 will need to be updated.
“The Evo 5 is 10-years-old now and its technology is at its peak.” Nathan said before heading off to Canberra.
“There's no more speed left in the car and it was proven in Coffs on day two that we could not compete with the later model cars, they are more powerful and have much better grip and suspension.”
While the lack of speed compared to the big boys is a massive issue, another negative for the current team vehicle is that the car is also ineligible for the APRC and WRC rounds in Australia which makes the overall goal of competing on the world stage hard to attain.
“Frustratingly the Evo 5 misses out on eligibility by one year and frankly there is little point taking that car to these international events,” team manager and Nathan's dad Martin said.
“We must remain focused with Nathan and not get caught up in competing in events for events' sake.
“The goal remains the same. Nathan must compete internationally this year and successfully.”
Despite driving an older model rally car, Quinn managed to turn plenty of heads last year when he managed on several occasions to record the second fastest time for a few of the stages on the ARC.
These results bode well for the future and have the team confident that strong performances beyond the ARC are possible.
“There is no doubt that Nathan can win rounds of the ARC in a newer Evolution 9 lancer or STI Imprezza and sure, that would be great, but we are more interested in fighting for outright podiums in the APRC and WRC,” Martin added.
“That's where his future lies.”