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Broken backs and WRC Class wins as Matt van Tuinen opens up to us

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In this interview we catch up with Queensland’s Matt van Tuinen.  Matt rallies Subaru Impreza WRX STi and took to the Queensland Rally stages this year, competing for the Queensland Rally Championship right until the final stages of the year – taking out the title by a coupe of points.  He also took to the front of the International Rally of Queensland with the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship and to WRC’s Coates Hire Rally Australia where he was able to take out the class win for Production.

Sadly he wasn’t as successful in the International Rally of Queensland (see him on stage in a video below) where a freak suspension failure put paid to his efforts and ultimately his championship. However in Rally Australia, he was undoubtedly the happiest driver in the field coming to the end of stage with the biggest smile of all. He was running the event on a very small budget which made him make some interesting decisions along the way to ensure that the car was straight any had the money to finish.

He certainly showed that he should be in it for the fun in that rallying is fun.

He has been around the sport for 15 years having won the championship in Queensland in 2009 (and again in 2014), he was looking to take his career up a notch in 2012 when his look to move to the Asia-Pacific Championship. An incorrect pace note, a huge jump and a rough landing in New Caledonia saw him break his back and end the dream (see the video below).

He would not be deterred and fixed himself got back in the car as soon as he could.

In this extended interview which goes for more than 25 minutes we go in depth into Matt’s career – his highs, his lows, what drives him, what his future holds and of course his experience on the big stage of all – the World Rally Championship event at Coffs Harbour in 2014.

It’s a fascinating chat with a man who is passionate about the sport and wants to see the sport to grow and thrive in the future.

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By Sam Tickell,  December 2014

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