Latvian driver Ivars Vasaraudzis took another win this weekend on the Latgale Rally, fifth round of the national series, at the wheel of his MML Sports-run Mitsubishi Lancer WRC. The reigning champion was at a huge disadvantage running first on the road but was able to resist a determined drive by Georg Gross in the 2008 Ford Focus WRC to claim the event win.
The conditions on the event were typical for the national series; fast and flowing unpaved roads covered with a layer of loose gravel. First on the road was a distinct disadvantage for Vasaraudzis, as he was cleaning the stage for following drivers. And while he and new co-driver Mareks Stirna failed to claim a stage win, a fast time on the opening stage and consistent performances throughout the rest of the event were sufficient to ensure they held the top of the leaderboard from the second stage onwards.
While Gross mounted a huge comeback charge, he was unable to catch Vasaraudzis by the end of the event and came home a close second. Third went to Maris Nieksans, the first of the Group N runners.
Commenting after the finish, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; "I'm delighted that Ivars took this win. He was at a huge disadvantage running first on the road, sweeping the surface clean for the following cars. But he kept his head and put in an extremely consistent performance to claim the win in his first rally in the Lancer WRC this season.
"It's good to see that the Lancer WRC is still competitive and that Ivars can jump back in it, having not driven the car for almost nine months and be on the pace straight away. Of course, the win is the perfect result."