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Thursday, 01 August 2013 00:00

Summer break a pause for breath, not a rest for MML Sports

The traditional motorsport summer break will allow British motorsport specialists MML Sports time to draw breath but it will certainly not allow the company, formed from the official Mitsubishi Rally team, a chance to rest. Despite no active competition for several weeks, the company is busy supplying teams and individuals around the world with parts, as well as rearranging its new workshops ready for the restart of the numerous series it is involved in.

So far this season, MML Sports has prepared cars for competition in seven countries on three continents, including the most recent, Rally America when it supplied a Mitsubishi Lancer WRC for multiple Canadian and North American champion, Antoine L'Estage. It has also competed in Europe and supplied a car for South America.

While competition takes a break, the company now has a chance to not only finish the process of establishing its new workshop facilities but also, fine-tune its sales and online retail facilities to support the global motorsport market.

It completed the move into its new workshop in January yet as luck would have it, this was the busiest time of the year, with numerous rally series that the company is involved in about to start. Therefore, it was a case of making-do with the workshop until such time that there was a break in competition to allow a more thorough and considered development of the facilities.

This has now happened and the company has created three separate car build bays, as well as dedicated engine, gearbox and suspension build areas and essential test equipment, including gearbox, differential and steering rack facilities.

Its stores area remains stocked with the full range of spare parts for the Mitsubishi Lancer WRCars it runs, ranging from an engine block to a windscreen. It also holds a huge range of parts for Group N rally cars, whether spares or components to build a complete car from scratch and of course, the R4 conversion kit, jointly developed by MML Sports.

This includes both the lightweight conversion kit, saving a total of around 85Kg compared with a Group N car and the suspension conversion kit, of fabricated crossmembers and suspension components.

The company also added an online webshop to its website earlier this year, allowing customers to order parts from real-time stock levels and ensuring prompt despatch around the world. Again, these parts range from a set of number plates through the complete R4 conversion kit and customers can even order a road-going Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX RS to use as a base for a Group N or R4 project.

The company is using the break in competition to build a new Lancer WRC for L'Estage, who had a major accident in his original version on the Oregon Trails rally in May. The Canadian, co-driven by Nathalie Richard, went off the road and landed upside down on a tree stump. The shell of the car he was using was too badly damaged to be reused, so MML Sports is building a new car for him to use, potentially for the penultimate round of the series in late August.

It has also upgraded the suspension on Bob de Jong's Lancer WRC to its latest version. Bob is leading the Belgian Rally Championship and following a successful pre-event test with the new hardware and settings, was comprehensively leading the West Brabant rally at the end of the first day, before withdrawing due to personal reasons.

Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; "It's quite nice to have a short break in competition for us to take stock and finish developing the workshop as we want it. Because of the schedule for moving in and this coinciding with the start of many of the series we are involved in, it was a case of function over form to begin with.

"The parts sales side of the business has been steadily growing for the last year to 18 months and we are now getting interest from around the world, both directly and through the website and webshop. In fact, we've just shown two potential customers from Africa around and look forward to supplying them with components for their cars.

"We're also building a new Lancer WRC for Antoine and I'm sure that he will be able to demonstrate when we saw on the Oregon Trail rally, where he was mixing it with David Higgins and Ken Block and hopefully, he'll be able to take an event win before the season is over.

"Bob is also very pleased with the new suspension on his Lancer WRC, which he says is far more stable and provides greater grip and he has already demonstrated the benefits. I'm sure we will see even more success for him this year.

"We have also just despatched a brand new R4 car to South America to run in the regional championship there, after the success we enjoyed with Gustavo Saba, who won the CODASUR series last year."

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