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Thursday, 15 September 2011 00:00

Back-to-back rallies for MML Sports

  • MML Sports to run 12 cars on seven rallies in six weekends
  • WRC, R4 and GpN for Rally Latvia
  • WRC For Cambrian Rally

The next six weeks will be extremely busy for MML Sports, the company formed from the ex-works Mitsubishi Rally Team. It will be running no less than 12 rally cars at eight events over the next six weekends, including every type of car it offers on Rally Latvia and returning the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC to British stages for the first time in six years.

This coming weekend, 17-18 September, will see Bert de Jong at the wheel of the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC on the Hellendoorn Rally in Holland. However, while Bert is in action, the team will also be demonstrating its R4 version of the Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX at Rallyday, the UK's premier rally show, with former works driver Harri Rovanpera at the wheel.

The following weekend, 24-25 September will see arguably the busiest and most important event of the series, as MML Sports heads east for Rally Latvia, the finale of the Baltic Nation's domestic series. The flagship event will see three of MML Sports' cars in action: Raimonds Kisiels will be driving the Lancer WRC and Alexander Novokov will be at the wheel of a Group N Lancer EvoX.

However, all eyes are likely to be on Jari Ketomaa, who will again be driving the MML Sports R4 EvoX. After his performance on the recent Kurzeme Rally, where he clearly matched the pace of Ott Tanak in the Ford Fiesta S2000, expectations of a deserved result will be high and both MML Sports and Ketomaa know what the car is capable of.

The next weekend, 1-2 October will see three more cars in action in Germany on the Lausitz Rally, with Bert de John and Mark van Eldik driving Lancer WRCs and Bert's son at the wheel of the R4 EvoX.

It's then back to the UK, where teenager Tom Cave will drive one of the company's Lancer WRCs on the Cambrian Rally, the final round of the BTRDA championship. Cave has already sewn up the Production Cup and Junior Driver awards and is looking to climb into the top three overall, as well as challenge for the Welsh National Rally Championship and Junior driver spoils.

Slovakian driver Jaroslav Melicharek will be in action the following weekend in another Lancer WRC before key members of the MML Sports team head to the Caribbean, where local driver Sean Gill will again be competing in the Suzuki SX4 which the company developed over the 2010/11 winter period.

Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said: "We've had busy periods before but I don't recall anything quite like this. We will have 12 cars running on seven rallies over six weekends, as well as Rallyday, so it's going to be quite a logistical challenge.

"Rally Latvia is always a busy event for us and this year will be no different. We'll have Jari in the R4 Lancer EvolutionX again and we're hoping that he can have a representative result after the excellent speed he showed on the Kurzeme Rally. We now know that our R4 EvoX is right on the pace with the aspirated S2000s and I expect Jari to be on the attack from the outset.

"I am also looking forward to seeing the Lancer WRC compete on British stages again. The last time we ran 'at home' was Rally GB in 2005, just before Mitsubishi withdrew from rallying, so we're excited about that and seeing what Tom can do with the car.

"It will also be good to see the Suzuki SX4 running again. Sean [Gill] has definitely got the hang of the car now and was putting in some storming times on his last event, so hopefully, we might see his first outright rally win by the end of next month - that would be a perfect way to round off the next few weeks."

17-18 September
Hellendoorn Rally (NL)
Bert de Jong, Mitsubishi Lancer WRC
Rallyday (GB)
Harri Rovanpera, Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX R4

24-25 September
Rally Latvia (LV)
Jari Ketomma, Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX R4
Raimonds Kisiels, Mitsubishi Lancer WRC
Alexander Novokov, Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX Gp N

1-2 October
Lausitz Rally (DE)
Bert de Jong, Mitsubishi Lancer WRC
Mark van Eldik, Mitsubishi Lancer WRC
Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX R4

8-9 October
Cambrian Rally (GB)
Tom Cave, Mitsubishi Lancer WRC
Nederland Rally (NL)
Bert de Jong, Mitsubishi Lancer WRC

15-16 October
Rally Kosice (SL)
Jaroslav Melicharek, Mitsubishi Lancer WRC

30 October
Winter Gravel Rally (BA)
Sean Gill, Suzuki SX4 WRC

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