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International Rally Of Whangarei

(Event release, 21/8/2013)  AUSTRALIAN fans will have a home-grown hero in a top-level World Rally Car to cheer in next month’s Coates Hire Rally Australia after Coffs Harbour driver Nathan Quinn announced he had secured an Italian-run MINI for the 12-15 September event on the New South Wales Coffs Coast.

Quinn, 29, will run a MINI Countryman John Cooper Works WRC under his Coffs Coast Rally Team banner in what will be the biggest step in his career, which has included previous attempts at Rally Australia in 2009 and 2011.

The MINI will be run by the high-regarded Motorsport Italia operation, which will bring out a management team and technicians to support Quinn.

His entry will add enormous extra interest to the battle for the FIA World Rally Championship 10th round, with Quinn listed among 10 WRC outright-class contenders including championship leader Sebastien Ogier and three-time Rally Australia winner Mikko Hirvonen.

More than 10 Australian crews are expected to be on the official entry list when it is announced shortly, but Quinn is the only one in an outright WRC car.

Rally Australia Chairman Ben Rainsford said Nathan Quinn’s entry should encourage many more spectators to attend the event.

“Whether it’s the FIA Formula 1 World Championship or FIA World Rally Championship, the participation of Australian drivers brings a whole new level of interest for spectators and followers around the country,” Mr Rainsford said.

“Rally Australia congratulates Nathan Quinn and his team on achieving this entry. He’s a fine young driver and we wish him every success in the rally.

“If you’re planning to be a spectator, how is definitely the time to be booking your tickets on-line.”

Rally Australia has not had a local outright contender since Queenslander Chris Atkinson competed as a works driver in 2006.

Quinn’s previous tilts at Rally Australia in lower-category cars attracted enormous support, although he failed to finish either event due to mechanical problems.

He also has contested rounds of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship, China Rally Championship and Australian Rally Championship in recent years.

“This is the biggest chance of my career and I’ve put everything on the line to get it,” the Coffs Harbour tyre shop owner said.

“I’m determined to get to the finish line on Sunday afternoon and if I can do that I’m fairly confident of a good result.

“The MINI Countryman John Cooper Works WRC is a thoroughly-proven rally car and the team is bringing the latest 01C engine designed by BMW for me to use.

“It will be the fastest rally car I’ve ever driven and I can’t wait to get my hands on it.”

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Chris Nixon

Chris Nixon is Media Manager for Kennards Hire Rally Australia.