Wilkins itching for return to rally

After three years out of the sport, Tim Wilkins will return to rallying in 2022 and is aiming to compete in at least two RSEA Safety Motorsport Australia Rally Championship (ARC) events this year.

Having made a name for himself at state level over the past decade, the New South Welshman’s return will be at next month’s Netier National Capital Rally where he will be behind the wheel of his newly purchased Mitsubishi Evo for just the third time ever.

The Evo has quite a strong history in the sport having belonged to former ARC regular podium placer, Adrian Coppin.

With his overarching 2022 goal to win the Motorsport Australia NSW Rally Championship, Wilkins purchased Coppin’s car in order to give himself every chance to win the state title, while performing well at national level was a secondary objective.

And now with less than a month until his first major rally since 2018, Wilkins was grateful for having the opportunity to compete this year.

“I am really excited to get back to rally, especially after the past two years and I am really looking forward to competing in both the New South Wales championship and a couple of Australian events,” Wilkins said.

“I wasn’t really considering coming back this year as I didn’t have the funding, however the team at Snowflake Blast & Powdercoating really encouraged me to give it a go.

“They supported me financially, which will allow me to compete in the whole NSW championship. Without them I wouldn’t have been able to run this year so I am quite grateful for their backing.

“The opportunity to get Adrian’s car actually popped up out of the blue as I was interested in buying a 4WD car and I guess I just happened to be looking at the right place at the right time and we got it.

“Hopefully I can recreate his footsteps and enjoy some success in this car.”

As for what he wants to achieve himself in 2022, the 33-year-old kept his expectations low and revealed his schedule would be based on an event-by-event case.

“My goal is to win the NSW state championship and that is the first priority,” Wilkins added.

“With that said, I am also pretty excited by the White Wolf Constructions ARC Production Cup because just like the NSW State championship, there are many talented individuals in there and it makes it very interesting.

“I don’t have any expectations for this year, and I plan to take it as it comes. Depending on how I go at Canberra, I may do Victoria and Queensland too, however we shall see.

“I guess a top five in the Production Cup would change my mind or make me reconsider as to whether we will do the extra rounds on top of Canberra and November’s Coffs Coast Rally.

“The test day will also be important for me as it’s just another opportunity to get extra seat time. I haven’t had much experience in it, so that day will be beneficial and help me improve ahead of the first round of the year.”

Helping his cause to secure some form of silverware this year is the recruitment of highly experienced co-driver Jim Gleeson, who last won the NSW Rally Championship back in 2019.

The ARC official test day takes place on 8 March around the Kowen Forest, while the season gets underway with the Netier National Capital Rally in Canberra on 1-4 April.