TEAM Citroen Australia will continue their foray into the Australian Rally Championship in 2015, with team principal Ron Cremen confirming Citroen along with team partners Citroen Racing, Fibertech Medical, Total Lubricants and Autografika Signage will remain in the East Coast Bullbars championship next year.
Arriving on the scene at last year’s Rally Australia, Team Citroen Australia have this season campaigned a pair of DS3 R3’s, driven by Adrian Coppin and Tony Sullens.
While the Citroen DS3 is the dominant front-wheel drive of choice around the World, the fledgling Australian team knew they would spend the 2014 season learning the ropes in the face of stiff competition from the likes of Scott Pedder and Brendan Reeves.
“2014 was always going to be an interesting year,” Cremen said. “Being new in the (Australian Rally) Championship we had to find out exactly where we were compared to our opposition and then to try and be as competitive as possible while learning with a new car.”
Cremen explained that he has been surprised by the performance of both Pedder and Reeves this year. Although he expected both drivers to be fast, he admitted that he wasn’t prepared for just how rapid they have proven at the front of the field.
“Our team has performed very well to date and I am pleased with the progress but we still have to work hard to find some speed and have high expectations for the final Round in Victoria to close out 2014,” Ron commented.
To the everyday spectator the pair of Citroen’s campaigned by Coppin and Sullens appear close knit. They run with identical paint schemes and service side-by-side in the same area, but behind the scenes Coppin owns his own car and runs his Innate Motorsport team separately from Sullen’s NSW Central Coast based operation.
During the year the differences between the drivers has been evident, with each pursuing his own agenda. As an obvious example Cremen has commented a number of times about the challenge of managing two cars with very different setup profiles, Coppin preferring a softer, more compliant car to the unyielding setup Sullens favors.
With Coppin having competed in Europe twice over the past 18 months, and with the young Canberran driver keen to further his rally career overseas in some way, shape or form, Cremen admits the make up of Team Citroen Australia may vary heading into the 2015 season.
The team may elect to campaign just the one car currently driven by Sullens, with Coppin pursuing his own aims, with Sullens returning once again having built up his experience this season, though the option of replacing Sullens with another driver remains a possibility.
Cremen hasn’t been backward in coming forward, having conversations with both Eli Evans and Scott Pedder at the recent Round in Coffs Harbour about driving for the team, while Brendan Reeves may also find himself in consideration with his recent admission that Rally Victoria will be his final drive in the rallyschool.com.au Mazda2.
“Plans for 2015 are moving forward and I have high expectations to connect with Middle East contacts to expand our sponsor base and commitment to the Championship in an effort to find a winning combination,” said Ron.
“Driver line up for 2015 is still under review but the team hopes to make further an announcement in December before testing in January,” he added.