PHOTO: Australian Adrian Coppin confirms Rallye Deutschland drive.
YOUNG Australian driver Adrian Coppin will contest next week’s International Rally of Queensland on the Sunshine Coast as a step towards the FIA World Rally Championship (WRC) later this year.
Two days after contesting Round 3 of the FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship (APRC) in Queensland, Coppin, 28, from Canberra, will fly to Europe to observe WRC Rally Poland in late-June and contest WRC Rally Germany in August, before returning for WRC Coates Hire Rally Australia on the NSW Coffs Coast on 11-4 September.
In all events, his mount will be a factory-built Citroen DS3 R3, eligible for the WRC3 and Junior WRC secondary categories. He obtained one of the cars in Australia this year specially to prepare himself for a possible international career.
In Queensland, the two-car official Team Citroen Australia will run Coppin and fellow driver Tony Sullens in identical cars, but with Sullens concentrating on the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship (ARC) section of the 20-22 June event.
“I will be contesting the Asia-Pacific category; it’s another great opportunity for me to compete on an international-level event and to get a bit of extra exposure to the APRC’s television audience throughout Asia,” said Coppin.
International Rally of Queensland Event Director Paul Woodward welcomed the Australian drivers’ decision to use the event to challenge the internationals, who will be led by defending Asia Pacific Champion Gaurav Gill of India and current European Champion Jan Kopecky from the Czech Republic.
“I believe the Aussie talent is right up there with the internationals, but they get few opportunities to test it so Queensland promises to be a fantastic experience for Adrian and his countrymen,” Woodward said.
Coppin will compete in Germany with the Italian D-Max Racing team, the same outfit for which he drove in a European championship round in Croatia last year in company with the world’s number one female rally driver, Australian Molly Taylor.
Taylor is back in a Citroen this year for the six-round Junior World Rally Championship.
Coppin told rally.com.au that confirming the drive at Rallye Deutschland was a dream come true.
“For any rally driver you always dream about competing regularly overseas, so it’s incredibly fulfilling for me think that in 20 years’ time I’ll be able to say I drove those roads, I competed in a tarmac WRC,” he said.
D-Max Racing’s experience in running the front-drive Citroen, combined with Coppin’s own knowledge after driving the identical car in Australia, will give him more confidence heading to Germany.
“The weekend after Queensland I’m going to Poland. I’m there to meet up with the team, spend some time talking with them, and of course watching Molly in the JWRC. Straight after the rally I’m visiting the team’s workshop in Italy.”