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When Eli Evans was announced as the driver for Team Citroen Australia in 2015 it appeared as if Tony Sullens’s year in the team was going to end up as a one-time deal. But an eleventh hour opportunity to purchase another Citroen DS3 R3 has handed Sullens a lifeline and the chance to return to the East Coast Bullbars Australian Rally Championship in 2015.

Sullens was recently asked if he’d been surprised by the team’s decision to hand the car he’d driven last season over to Eli Evans.

“We’d talked about it and there was always the potential that Citroen would say someone else was going to drive the car, so no I wasn’t surprised,” Sullens said.

“There was also the chance that someone would come along with money, too, so there was always the potential that I wouldn’t be in the car this year. But I was always in the loop, I had a fair idea what was going on.”

With the car owned by Ron Cremen, Sullens was left with the prospect that his six events in 2014 would be his last, until Cremen called with a last minute option to continue competing this year.

“Ron was in the Middle East and he told me there was a second-hand DS3 that had become available but that I basically had to make a decision straight away if it was going to be shipped to Australia or back to Europe.”

“I think I had the weekend to make the call on buying the car, so I called him back and said I’d take it! It’s a lot of money but it wasn’t a hard decision. I really didn’t want to have put in all the hard work this year and not have a chance to put it to good use next year,” he added.

Sullens has purchased one of six Citroen DS3’s campaigned in the Middle Eastern Rally Championship for up and coming drivers from the Emirate of Abu Dhabi, although Citroen satellite team PH Sport owned the car.

“I’ve bought the car sight unseen. The first time I’ll see it is when we open the container so I hope it’s been looked after,” laughed Sullens. “It’s one of PH Sport’s cars, so I’m sure it’s been really well looked after. It should arrive just before the Forest Rally, so I’ll really only have a chance to give it a wash before we’re off to the first round.”

Sullens, who finished fourth in the Championship points this year behind team mate Adrian Coppin and finished on the podium three times, was determined to use his experience from 2014 again this year.

“We put in a lot of hard work last year, doing all the rounds, writing notes from scratch, learning what works and doesn’t work with the car. I really didn’t want to throw all that away by not competing this year.”

“The plan at this stage is that we will run under the Team Citroen Australia banner again, as a second car to Eli Evans. I’m happy to be back, my co-driver Julia (Barkley) is happy, and the team is happy,” he said.

So with one year behind him, and another year ahead on the horizon, how is Sullens going to approach 2015?

“I start the year with no great expectations. Even though I’ve had a year in the car I still have a lot to learn, the advantage is now that I own the car so I can decide how hard I want to push.”

“I expect Eli to be very fast. Sure our R3 spec cars have a battle with the G2 spec cars, but a good driver like Eli will always do well no matter what they are driving!”

 

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