Gruelling day in SA for Team Citroen Australia
- 2nd August 2014, 10:30pm
Adrian Coppin and Tim Batten have finished third at the end of Day Two at the Scouts Rally SA, followed closely by team mates Tony Sullens and Julia Barkley in fourth. Heat Two marked the longest and most challenging day of competition of all the three days, with eleven stages and three services in total. Unfavourable weather conditions plagued competitors yesterday; however, drivers were pleased to be graced by clear skies and crisp frost early in the day.
In the first two stages, Coppin led with a marginal distance over Sullens, however, this was duly returned by Sullens on the next two stages. The close dual was brought to an abrupt halt on the afternoon stage of Tweeden, a 31-kilometre, high speed, narrow stage, notorious for causing even the most seasoned of drivers to come unstuck. This event proved no exception, with Coppin and Batten arriving first on scene to the car of a fellow competitor, lying ahead on the road, engulfed in flames.
Rendering assistance as quickly as they could, the pair called for emergency assistance and were unable to continue the stage. The incident resulted in a stage cancellation and Coppin was awarded the same time as Sullens. The delay also prevented Coppin from making the next set of stages, where he was again awarded the equal time as his team mate.
“We set really good times this morning and made a lot of positive steps with the set-up, and it’s rewarding to see that really paying off. The longer stage of the rally we were making good time until we popped a crest and saw a car on fire in the trees. We were very concerned about the welfare first and foremost of the drivers. We helped as best we could, and luckily they were out of the car. It did shake us a little bit,” said Batten.
“The last two stages suited Tony’s driving style and we were able to go flat out. It was very fast, very close to trees, and a big change from this morning’s pace. We struggled through muddy stages in the forest this morning, and we think it could be a combination of unfavourable setup and Tony approaching a bit too conservatively,” said Barkley.
It was left to the evening super special stages in Gawler for the pair to settle the score. The course consisted of three quick sprint stages around the Gawler showground, including hairpins and a jump. Coppin found pace amongst the local crowd, claiming the faster time and the overall third sport for the day.
“We have just finished up a really long day. Over 12 hours in the car in total today, along with some highs and lows, but we came home in third and we’re really happy with the result,” said Coppin.
“The super special stage was great fun, heaps of fans and people coming out to see us, but I didn’t get a clean run. It’s around hay bales and there are lots of pokey bits and pieces. It’s a lot to get together and I think I am a bit too aggressive for that type of course. Put me on a fast bit of road and say go fast. That’s what I am here for!” said Sullens.
For both teams, the work will continue into the night, with a two hour service before retiring for the evening. Tomorrow, drivers will face ten stages, five of which are new, before again finishing up in Gawler for the final super special stage followed by podium presentation.
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