Meet the Driver – Clinton Cunningham

Clinton Cunningham
Clinton Cunningham

Name: Clinton Cunningham
Age: 34
Motorsport class: Pre 2000 4WD
Current rally car: Evo IV

At what age were you when you first got involved in motorsport?
I started out in my early 20’s in Motocross, but always knew rallying is where I wanted to end up.

Who was your biggest influence in rallying when growing up?
Without a doubt it would be Colin McRae. If I could achieve just 20% of his talent I would be a happy man

What was your very first rally car?
It was the ex Allport Mazda 323. It was a great car for a while but started to become unreliable so it had to go.

What has been the most fun rally car you have owned?
My current car – the Evo IV

What is the ultimate special stage / rally for you?
Rally Whangarei – I grew up in the area and used to watch the cars each year as they all arrived in my little town.

What is your rally highlight to date?
Winning the Pre 2000 Champs in 2012

What has been you scariest moment in motorsport to date?
Probably my crash at Whangarei. Although my 2013 season had so many mechanical issues every time I hear an unusual knock or bang it would have me a little concerned, whilst not too scary it had me on edge each time.

What vehicle format would you recommend for young drivers entering motorsport? Front wheel drive, rear wheel drive or 4 wheel drive and why?
I guess it depends where you want to go, and what you want to achieve. I think if you want to go all out for a championship, then starting in a 4WD is good.

What advice could you give an up-and-coming driver looking for sponsorship?
Involve people in what you’re doing. Don’t just focus on yourself. Make sure you give something back to people you are asking to help you. That might be a sponsor day and take them for rides etc. make them feel like they are involved not just handing over some $$ for a sticker on the car.

In your opinion who was the best rally driver of all time and why?
Colin McRae was probably the most spectacular, you can’t go past Sebastien Loeb with all his wins.

Other than rally what other things / work are you involved in?
I run a very busy contracting company (RCK Contractors), specialising in civil construction, transport and recruitment. Greg Ruka, who has been my co-driver from day one, also works with me at RCK.

What do you like to do to relax when not rallying?
I enjoy spending time with the family and my dogs (Rottweiler’s). I definitely enjoy getting away to a Bach up North and chilling out and doing some fishing. I also enjoy taking my Harley out for a ride too.

Do you have any other talents that would surprise people(are you a budding artist / musician etc)?
Not sure if it’s a talent, but I like to run and am in training for the Rotorua marathon at present. I also like to play Touch Rugby

What’s your goal for 2014?
To have a good finish at every rally this year.

I’d just like to mention that all of this is only possible due to the people around me. My family have been a massive support in what I do, as have been my team / crew. I’ve had the same guys in the team since my very first rally. Without these people around me I wouldn’t be rallying, so a huge thank you to all of them.

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