THE Australian Rally scene is abuzz with the surprise move by Eli Evans to join forces with Team Citroen Australia to spearhead a single car attack on the 2015 East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship.
Evans and long-time co-driver Glen Weston, the 2012 and 2013 Australian Rally Champions, will take over the Citroen DS3 for next year, the car which has been driven by Tony Sullens and Julia Barkley this season.
The move will give Evans another chance to add a third Australian Championship to his mantle.
“Citroen have a phenomenal record internationally with the DS3, so to have the opportunity to step join Team Citroen Australia and to drive the car next year is very exciting,” Evans said. “I’m expecting the car will be fast straight out of the box. It has the numbers on paper and wins on the board overseas.”
While Evans has significant experience competing in front-wheel drive rally cars, there will be aspects of the DS3 that will be completely new to him.
“I’ve never driven a turbo-charged front-wheel drive before, or a car with paddle shift, so that’s exhilarating to me to be able to learn new things.”
It was widely rumoured that team principal Ron Cremen had held preliminary conversations with both Evans and newly crowned Champion Scott Pedder at Coates Hire Rally Australia about joining the team in 2015.
“2014 was a launching pad for Citroen Australia into the Australian Rally Championship and a large part of the credit goes to the drivers (Adrian Coppin & Tony Sullens), co-drivers (Tim Batten & Julia Barkley) and team mechanics whom made it possible, podium results in every heat of every round was a great credit to all concerned,” Cremen said. “With only five events making up the 2015 Championship, every round will be critical.”
While Adrian Coppin owns the Citroen DS3 he competed in this year, and is expected to continue to drive in 2015, the move by Team Citroen Australia to install Eli Evans will see Tony Sullens out of a drive.
Team Citroen Australia will continue its partnership into 2015 with the support of Citroen Australia, Citroen Racing, Fibertech Medical Australia, Tankformers, Autografika signs and Total Lubricants.