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Citroen Australia’s surprise 2014 ECB ARC announcement at last month’s Coates Hire Rally Australia came with an added bonus surprise, the reemergence of New South Welshman Tony Sullens into the outright category.

“Ron (Cremen) approached me and asked if I’d be interested in being a part of this project, and of course I said yes,” said Sullens. “It’s a bit of a toe in the water exercise for everyone. Citroen want to get involved in Australian rallying and in doing so build their brand.”
Sullens will pair with Adrian Coppin in a two car Citroen Australia supported team next season, seeing a switch for the long time Subaru driver to a front-wheel drive DS3.
It will be a massive step into the unknown for Sullens, who openly admits that he knows pretty much everything about Subaru’s and almost nothing about the car he will drive next year.
“I’ve got three Subaru’s at home in the shed, and over 10 to 15 years of knowledge in building them and running them,” Tony explained.
“I’d looked at the two-wheel drive G2 specs for the ARC, and it was appealing to think about driving one of these cars, but I didn’t want to build and develop a car from scratch, that never made sense to me.”
“The good thing about the Citroen DS3 is it’s a proven car, it’s a competitive car, it’ll be competitive straight away and that’s very important to getting involved for me, for the team, and for Citroen,” Sullens added.
With performance and consistency in mind Sullens admitted that he’s happy to play the supporting role in the team next year, allowing Coppin to presumably push hard for outright results.
“I like to think I’ve always been a reasonably consistent driver during my rally career,” he said. “From my point of view I’m not the guy who is going to go out and win but I’m also not the guy who is going to throw the car into the trees either.”
“I know I’m there to get my car to the finish nice and tidy. I learnt at events like Targa Tasmania to be consistent and to keep the pressure on, that’s how you get results.”
Sullens rallying has taken him from the NSW State Championship to regular appearances throughout the 2000’s in the Australian Rally Championship and to victory at Targa Tasmania.
He’s aware though that his prior four-wheel drive experience will mean little as he gets up to speed with the Citroen ahead of next year.
“There is going to be a lot of work behind the scenes to get up to speed. It’s a real double edge sword though because I’m so excited to get in the car and start learning it, but I don’t want to wear the car out either.”
“Probably in the next couple of months we’ll test once everything is properly in place. We need to find some suitable roads to really learn the car, but I’m probably looking for 3 to 4 big days of testing to really get into the groove,” Tony explained.
“I don’t just want to fang the car around, I want to try tyres and suspension settings and really learn how the car works and reacts to changes.”
With teammate Coppin driving a similar Citroen DS3 in Croatia last weekend Sullens will have a lot to learn, yet he’s hoping for positive results from the outset as the team looks to build on Citroen’s involvement in the World Rally Championship.
“I think we’re all looking at this as a multi year thing, and we’re all hoping that Citroen love the experience and get some great results and it’ll all snowball from there.”
“With any luck there will be a half dozen of these things (Citroen DS3’s) in the ARC by this time next year!” concluded Sullens.
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