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Quinn Oz13aThe all-Australian pairing of Coffs Coast local driver Nathan Quinn and his Perth-based co-driver Glenn Macneall started Coates Hire Rally Australia with a strong showing on the opening Super Special Stages Coffs 1 / 2.

With his hometown very vocally right behind him, Quinn said he was feeling the pressure to put on a show ahead of the 1.60 kilometre mixed surface stage: “It’s a lot to handle when your first ever competitive stage is taking place in front of almost everyone you know,” he explained.

After taking on the dusty, slippery test for the first time, Quinn was satisfied with his pace, but still felt he could improve with practice: “I made a couple of mistakes on the first pass through, overshooting a jump and also massively underestimating the grip I would have.”

Determined to improve on his first effort, Quinn put in a better time on his second pass through the slippery circuit, setting a time ninth overall, 0.1 seconds ahead of WRC rival and dual partner on the Super Special Stage Khalid Al Qassimi.

Ahead of what is expected to be a mentally demanding day tomorrow, Quinn was in high spirits: “To be at least within reach of any of these guys is pretty cool and gives me confidence heading in to my first full length Special Stages.”

Team Manager Bruno De Pianto was pleased with Quinn’s efforts: “Today wasn’t an easy day for Nathan. He took on nine much more experienced drivers, first in the Qualifying Stage then this evening on the double Super Special – and all in front of his home crowd! The pressure was on, but I think he rose to the challenge and I’m really encouraged by his battle on SSS2.”

Quinn’s Venezuelan team mate, Alexander Gelvez, competing in an RRC specification MINI in the WRC 2 class, is driving his own rally and focused on getting to grips with a new car and co-driver on a new continent before he starts to push: “I need to adapt to my MINI. The gearbox, lighter weight & increased power are new to me. It’s an adventure and I want to make the most of it. I’m very grateful to Venezuela and our Ministry of Sport for this opportunity!”

Gelvez has the best support in place to make the most of this incredible opportunity. He has access to the experience of Team Manager De Pianto, the preparation and in-car skills of co-driver Borja Rozada, winner of the 2012 Production car World Championship for Co-drivers and local knowledge of team mate Quinn. [The four are pictured together here [right] with Quinn’s co-driver Glenn MacNeall.]

Like his Rally Team Venezuela team mates, competing with Motorsport Italia’s sister team Ralliart Italy, Gelvez also has a specially designed livery on his MINI based on the Venezuelan flag [pictured below].

Quinn and Gelvez return to Rally Australia for SS3 tomorrow morning – don’t miss it!

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