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Thursday, 15 September 2016 00:00

A pair of podiums for MML Sports-prepared cars

• Chris van Woensel wins in Belgium
• Jassi Chatthe second to former British champion in Kenya


British motorsport and automotive specialist MML Sports celebrated a pair of podiums at the beginning of September, for cars it prepares for two rally championships.

In Belgium, Chris van Woensel ended a run of difficult rallies to claim his first win at the wheel of his MMLS-built Mitsubishi Lancer WRC world rally car. Competing on the Omloop Rally based in Roeselare he, like many other drivers, was caught out on the start line of the first stage, as the heavens unexpectedly opened on the slick-shod cars.

For the first two stages, it was a case of damage limitation and survival, the field crawling through the treacherous wet asphalt. Chris dropped time to several other competitors who had managed to get at least part-way through the stage before the rain started and he was delayed at the start because of Kris Princen going off ahead.

He managed to reach service before the remaining two stages on Friday to change to wet weather tyres and immediately set about regaining some of the lost time. By the time the field reached parc ferme at the overnight halt, he was leading the event.

On the second and final day, he consolidated his lead throughout the remainder of the event, reaching the finish ramp more than a minute ahead of the nearest rival, Bernhard ten Brinke in the Skoda Fabia R5.

While Chris was battling the rain in Belgium, reigning Kenyan and African Rally Champion Jassi Chatthe was back at the wheel of his R4-specification Lancer EvolutionX on the KCB Nanyuki Rally. The fifth round of the Kenyan Rally Championship was a tough affair with plenty of crews falling by the wayside.

However, the event saw a fierce battle between former British Rally Champion Tapio Laukkanen and Chatthe, who eventually finished second to the ex-WRC works driver. In addition, the two other cars run by MML Sports, of Onkar Rai and Baldev Chager were fourth and fifth, meaning three MML Sports cars in the top five.

Commentating, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; "I am delighted that Chris has finally claimed a rally win in the Lancer. He has deserved it for some time and I am pleased that he has now broken that duck.

"Omloop was a very difficult rally for a variety of reasons, not least starting on completely the wrong tyres. However, he drove carefully to get back to service and change, from which point on, he was unstoppable.

"In Kenya, I am delighted with the result there. This was another difficult rally and Jassi did very well to battle so hard with Tapio in difficult conditions. I am also very pleased that Onkar and Baldev both finished in the top five - it's a real testament to their driving ability and the strength of the MML Sports R4 EvoX."

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