Coffs Coast Rally Team’s Nathan Quinn has claimed his first CAMS Australian Rally Championship round win at Lightforce Rally SA this weekend.
Quinn and co-driver Ben Searcy dominated the event, taking out both heats, winning 12 of 14 stages and finishing heat two with a 46-second lead.
Subaru do Motorsport’s Molly Taylor was the only one to get close to Quinn, taking two stages on day one. Taylor and co-driver Bill Hayes finished a solid second, the result good enough to hand the pair a 30-point lead in the CAMS Australian Rally Championship with one round to go; Quinn moves into second, 35 points clear of Harry Bates.
Craig Brooks and Steve Glenney produced a stellar drive to claim third outright, his first ARC podium and a swag of points. The result secures top spot on the ARC2 class point score and a start at the Kennards Hire Rally Australia ARC2 final in November.
Quinn said his first round win was still sinking in.
“I’m stoked. I said that we had to come here and win and it worked out pretty well for us,” Quinn said.
“I’m very happy to finally get a win for the team after rallying for ten years.”
Quinn said there is a little extra confidence heading into the final round now.
“I’m heading to my home round, I’m sure Harry can confirm that driving in your home event is a lot easier, but Harry and I have a massive job ahead of us to overhaul Molly – hopefully the Coffs Coast Rally Team can come out on top.”
Taylor, who was second fastest on all stages today, was satisfied with the team’s result at Lightforce Rally SA.
“I couldn’t catch Nathan,” Taylor said after day two.
“I was trying all day but he (Quinn) was on fire so we had to settle for second and we are happy with that.”
Of their 30-point lead in the ARC the reigning champion said: “It’s certainly great to have a buffer heading into Rally Australia but it’s a long event with lots of points on offer so we are definitely happy to be in the position we are in but we know that the hard work is not over.”
Brooks was thrilled with his first ARC podium finish and heaped praise on his experienced co-driver Steve Glenney.
“It’s pretty exciting to get on the podium; who dares dreams,” Brooks said.
“Steve is the key to this result. He is an accomplished driver and a very good instructor and he’s helping to keep me on the straight and narrow and really accelerate my learning process.
“We’re really excited to go to Coffs Harbour and bash it out with the best second tier guys in the country. It will be a hands-down drag race, it will be great.”
Toyota’s Harry Bates and John McCarthy were sidelined for a second day running when the mechanical dramas with the new Yaris AP4 continued. Bates and McCarthy started heat two but completed only one stage before retiring from the event.
In the ARC two-wheel-drive class, Adam Kaplan and Aleshia Penny posted another solid result to take out the class win and now take an unassailable lead in the class championship.
In the ARC2 2WD class Stephen Mee and Lewis Bates did enough to secure their ticket to the ARC final at Rally Australia despite Mee missing the final three stages and Bates making a late retirement with gearbox issues.
Kennards Hire Rally Australia, the final round of the CAMS ARC and the World Rally Championship, will take place in the seaside town of Coffs Harbour on 16-19 November.
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Lightforce Rally SA – ARC Heat 2 (Provisional)
1. 4 QUINN/SEARCY 53:50.1
2. 1 TAYLOR/HAYES 54:36.8 +00:46.7
3. 7 BROOKS/GLENNEY 55:32.1 +01:42.0
4. 9 O’DOWD/SHEIL 59:20.2 +05:30.1
5. 10 KAPLAN/PENNEY 1:01:40.5 +07:50.4
6. 8 PENNY/PENNY 1:03:08.0 +09:17.9
7. 11 DUNN/NEAGLE 1:03:10.0 +09:19.9
8. 323 MEE/HARRIOT (3 missed stages) 1:05:40.8
CAMS Australian Rally Championship Pointscore – Driver (Top 10 – Provisional)
1. TAYLOR 260 pts
2. QUINN 230 pts
3. BATES 195 pts
4. BROOKS 150 pts
5. PENNY 144 pts
6. O’DOWD 143 pts
7. EVANS 132 pts
8. SULLENS 130 pts
9. MARKOVIC 119 pts
10. DUNN 84 pts