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Team Citroën Australia’s Tony Sullens and Adrian Coppin have had their competitive debut at the International Rally of Queensland today. Contending  the Armour All Power Stage this morning, the team mates were left to divide third and fourth after trying conditions plagued the field. Coppin came through with third, after a tentative start to the day, with Sullens closely in fourth after incurring a time penalty.

“The conditions were treacherous this morning. Whilst the weather was perfect, overnight rain had turned road the road to slippery red clay. The surface was very different to what we drove on yesterday, so much so, we had to do another recce this morning after the first car through had an accident.  We qualified low in the field with the hope that running first during the stage would give us some clean road, but it didn’t improve it much. We’re happy with third, but aren’t taking it as an indicator for the rally. The roads are much different tomorrow, with better grip, and I am looking to get back on the pace here,” said Coppin.

Coppin, aided by co-driver Tim Batten, came home in time of 2m05s, followed closely by Sullens and Julia Barkley with a time of 2m07s.

For Sullens, the confidence in his Citroën DS3 continues to go from strength to strength, evident in the pace displayed during the Armour All Power Stage this morning.  Eager to put his Citroën DS3 to the test, a minute jump start of one tenth of a second ended his chances for podium glory, with a ten second penalty being added to his time.

“We went to the power stage with a lot of confidence after making new ground in testing this week. Although the time penalty pushed us down the ranks, overall, we were extremely happy with the speed of the car today and are ready to take to the real stages tomorrow,” said Sullens.

Both teams spent the earlier part of the week testing and perfecting their Citroën DS3s on the forest rounds surrounding Imbil. Yesterday was spent on reconnaissance, with drivers and co-drivers surveying the competitive stages they will be challenging tomorrow.

“It’s the best conditions I’ve seen the roads since my first rally here three years ago. There’s a really good mix of fast sections along with tight, technically demanding segments. Two stages are 35 kilometres on Sunday and is everything you could come across in a rally, all rolled in to one stage. I suspect this will be our biggest test over the weekend,” said Coppin.

“This rally has it all. There’s insanely fast stuff, and very tricky, narrow sections. There’s huge drop offs on the outside of corners with no trees, then there’s humps and jumps, creek crossings and dips – it’s going to be a great event, but hard on cars.  If you get through without breaking something, on any car, you’d have done really well. I suspect tyre wear will be an issue as well. In one section we have five stages on one set of tyres,” said Sullens.

Round 3 of the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship marks the halfway point of the season, where drivers will be pushing harder than ever for vital championship points.  Coppin and Batten will be looking to protect their third rank on the ladder and hunt down Scott Pedder and Dale Moscatt for second, whilst fending off an assault from team mates Sullens and Barkley, who are keen to show their pace and make up ground lost early on in the season.

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