(Event release, 14/9/2013) THEY may be overshadowed by the glory at the head of the field but Australia’s entrants in the WRC category of Coates Hire Rally Australia are showing impressive talent.
Local Coffs Coast hero Nathan Quinn is tackling the event in a WRC-spec MINI Countryman John Cooper Works, his first time in a WRC car.
Despite the handicap of starting first on the road on Day One, after the leading drivers exercised their right to have the slower drivers ‘sweep’ the dusty roads, he and experienced co-driver Glenn Macneall improved from 10th to ninth.
The pair and their Motorsport Italia-prepared Mini started second on the road today after slipping past the Citroën of Khalid Al Qassimi.
“I can guarantee that I’m having more fun than the guys fighting for the championship,” a beaming Quinn said at the end of the first day.
“There is more in me than adapting the car to me.”
Other Australians mixing it with the WRC and WRC 2 regulars include Canberra duo Adrian Coppin and Tim Batten, driving a Ford Fiesta R2. The pair was named this week as part of a two-car Citroen team for next year’s Australian Rally Championship.
While Citroen has a long history in international rallying, this is the first time Citroen Australia has fielded a factory-backed team in the sport locally.
The Canberra pair finished the final stage of Day One in 18th place and say they are thoroughly enjoying the experience.
Higher up the order were Stephen Turner and Daniel Willson in 14th (Ford Fiesta R2), Darren Blair and Julie Boorman in 15th (Subaru Impreza WRX Sti) and Bruce Fullerton and Hugh Reardon-Smith (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX) in 16th, all coming home ahead of WRC regulars such as Yazeed Al-Rajhi/Michael Orr (17th) and Jose Alexander Gelvez Monterrey/Borja Rozada (19th). Martin Grigg and Rachel Messer (Mitsubishi Lancer Evo X-R4) rounded out the top 20.
According to the start list today, Quinn and Macneall were second car into the stages, while Turner/Willson would run 17th, Razvan Vlad/Daymon Nicoli 19th and Blair/Boorman 20th.