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With the recent announcement that he had been unable to secure the sponsorship needed to run John Mill’s Peugeot 207 R3t in next year’s Australian Rally Championship, Canberra rally driver, Adrian Coppin, like many, must be pondering what to do next year.

RallySportMag.com.au contacted the young Canberran to see what the future holds.

You didn’t compete at Coffs Harbour last weekend.  Does this signal a withdrawal from the Australian Rally Championship?

I suppose yes and no is the best answer.  For this year yes, but it isn’t because of a lack of interest.  My work commitments are such that right at the moment, I don’t have the time.  I have just won a major contract for my landscaping business and need to focus on that for the rest of this year.

You have had some good results this year, including a third place in the 2WD title at International Rally of Queensland and a wild card entry into the final of the Rallyschool.com.au Australian Junior Challenge.  Are you happy with your progress?

This year has been really positive, despite finishing early.  At this stage it looks like we’ll finish the season in fourth outright in the 2WD category, second in Privateers Cup, third in International Cup and win Class P3 (PRC) so yeah, it’s been very successful.  And I have gained a lot of experience about running a team in the ARC, plus now I have done all the events, apart from WA, and I went over to have a look at that rally and get a feel for it.  

And my pace has been respectable, given I have been driving a Group N Fiesta.  But I was disappointed at missing the Rallyschool.com.au final, but work pays for my rallying, so that is the way it turned out.

With the demise of your drive in John Mills’ Peugeot, what are your plans for 2013?

I’m not really able to confirm too much at the moment as my plans are far from finalised.  Before John approached me about the Peugeot, I had been interested in a Fiesta R2. The recent announcement about an M-Sport re-seller being appointed for Australia probably makes that a bit easier, as one of the biggest problems previously was I had to get all the parts from M-Sport. You need to hold a significant stock of parts here, which is expensive.  I have driven a Ford all this year and would be keen to stay with the brand, but I still haven’t made a final decision.

What are your thoughts on the FIA Group R cars and the Australian Rally Championship next year?

I know that a lot of people are dismissing them as not being powerful enough and therefore uncompetitive, but I don’t think this is the case.  Both the Fiesta R2 and the Peugeot will be producing about 200bhp next year and while that certainly isn’t in the same league as the Hondas or the Mazda, there is a critical point at which extra power means more wheel spin and more tyre wear.

The Peugeot and the Fiesta both weigh 1030kg, so they are light and have all the trick bits.  They stop well and handle well so I think they are certainly a chance in the right hands.  

I was lucky enough to have a ride in an R2 with Elfyn Evans during my recent trip to the UK and I would suggest either he or Brendan Reeves in an R2 would surprise a few people.  And I think that the pricing for the R2 kit isn’t ridiculous and means that it is a real option for crews trying to decide what to run, if they don’t have the budget for a G2 build.

You recently made reference to some overseas events.  What are your plans on that?

At this stage I am in discussions with a couple of teams in the UK to have a drive in some British Rally Championship rounds.  The Bulldog International Rally of North Wales is looking extremely likely and I would love to do a tarmac event, maybe the Jim Clark Rally.  But nothing is confirmed as yet.

Do you have ambitions to become part of something like the WRC Academy next year?

Who wouldn’t, but unfortunately I am a bit old.  Competing in the UK is about me enjoying myself and getting as much from my sport as possible… it would be a great experience.  And I want some really good rally stories to bore the kids and grandkids with!


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