Brisbane-based rally driver Adrian Coppin has made a surprise entry to Subaru Rally Tasmania despite declaring the Netier National Capital Rally was to be his last CAMS Australian Rally Championship event for the year just four weeks ago.
Coppin has competed in all rounds of the 2018 ARC to date thanks to a three-round sponsorship deal with Optus.
Following a 12-month absence from the ARC, Coppin made his return in the Race Torque Engineering prepared Peugeot 208 at The Courier Eureka Rally in March before swapping to the Skoda Fabia R5 at the Make Smoking History Forest Rally in Western Australia and the Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra.
Coppin said he went into this year satisfied with the three-round deal, which will allow him to concentrate on his role as Sporting and Commercial Business Development Manager at Rally Australia towards the end of the year.
“The deal with Optus was always for the first three and that was the plan…with Rally Australia coming and work starting to get busy, I thought it is what it is and we’ll see what we do next year,” Coppin said.
But following his stellar second-place finish in Canberra, things started to fall into place for just one more event.
“It all happened really from the next day after Canberra,” Coppin explained.
“So I put a few deals in place and looked to see where we could find the budget from and we’ve managed to pull it all together. It will definitely, 100 per cent be the last one and we’ll look ahead to see what next year brings.”
With the Skoda’s new livery still to be revealed, Coppin was tight lipped on his sponsors for Subaru Rally Tasmania but was thrilled to be getting more seat time in the R5.
“I was probably a bit naive coming into the championship this year… I knew where I’d always run in that top three of four when I previously ran and then I had a year off and the pace has really stepped up. I thought, ‘Wow, OK’.
“I never really quite gelled with the Peugeot and then obviously changing car to the Skoda – which was great because the Skoda is such an amazing thing – but then having Eli (Evans) come as well, he’s just a class act in himself but its been good for me to push and find that pace knowing what he can do.
“But yeah, it did take a bit longer than I would have liked to get up to speed.”
Coppin couldn’t be happier with his dual roles in the Australian rally scene, as a competitor and on the event organisation side of things.
“I’ve learnt a lot in the last few years, what’s really valuable to sponsors an how they think and work – it’s helped me to secure what I did with Optus and it’s exciting and I enjoy it – I get to work in the sport I love and I also then get to compete so I’m very fortunate on that front,” Coppin added.
“A couple of weeks ago I was down there [Coffs Harbour] in the Skoda doing a bunch of filming making a virtual spectator guide, the first time it’s ever been done.
“You come up with these cool ideas and try and implement them, we’re always trying to make the event [Rally Australia] new and fresh and relevant.
“I get to be involved in all those decisions and have fresh input into that… it’s pretty cool to work on a world class event, get paid for it and get to go and drive rally cars every second weekend too.”