LOCAL World Rally hope Nathan Quinn has more than proven his driving ability.
The World Production class wildcard has moved into 18th position overall after this morning's Clarence Valley stage.
The 10th quickest through the 4.58km stage, Quinn has moved into eighth outright in the Production stages, 24 seconds behind leader New Zealand champion Hayden Paddon.
Quinn was just 1.7 seconds slower than Paddon on the Upper Corindi which will form this afternoon's Power Stage.
It's been a momentous World Rally debut for Quinn, despite the fact he fell victim to the treacherous Orara Valley stages.
The Coffs Coast Rally Team driver had what his team dubbed "a light roll-over" during Friday's second Brooklana stage and blew a hose earlier than day, losing cylinder power.
Quinn finished the first full day of competition stages in 10th position in the WRC production class and 25th overall. Despite the setback, and the prospect of more dramas to come, Quinn says the World Rally experience has been a career highlight.
"I have been treating it like any other rally but when we rounded a corner and saw Sebastien Loeb's car on its roof, my mind started to wander, I realised just how hard those stages were," Quinn said.
"I couldn't believe it, here's a seven-time world champion arguably the best in the world in that position, I thought, geez these conditions are challenging, yeah extremely difficult.
"I tried to calculate the risks, use the local knowledge and just make it home.
"A real highlight was driving past the Nana Glen Public School and seeing all the kids hanging over the fence waving to us, it was great, I'm really loving my shot at the World Rally Championship here at Rally Australia."