Maderian driver Felipe Freitas made a perfect start to his 2011 rally season recently, by winning his first event outright and finishing second and first GpN car on the opening round of the 2011 championship, in his MML Sports-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX.
Having finished last season with a string of excellent performances, Freitas was clearly keen to get 2011 underway in the best fashion.
He set the fastest time on the first three stages of the Rampa do Monte rallysprint, based close to the island's capital of Funchal over the weekend of 25/26 February. However, on the fourth stage, he clipped a bank and the resulting spin caused damage to his EvolutionX's bodywork and cost him more than two minutes in lost time.
But the scoring system for the rallysprint meat that each drivers' two best times out of the six stages counted and with more wins than anyone else - four in total - his combined time was enough to claim the event win and with it, his first trophy of the season.
Two weeks later, he took part in the first round of the 2011 Madeira Rally Championship, Rali Porto Santo. Once again, he was up against Vitor Sa in the Peugeot 207 S2000 and no less than five other EvolutionXs, from Spain, Germany and Italy.
And again, Freitas kept his cool and arrived at the finish of the event in second place overall behind Sa and as the leading GroupN car, with a margin of more than half a minute over his team-mate, Antonio Nunes.
Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; "I'm delighted that Felipe has picked up where he left off at the end of last year. An outright win and another class win is a perfect way to start the season.
"Felipe is also very interested in the R4 developments we are making and hopefully, he will upgrade once the homologation is finalised on 1 April and will be able to close the gap to the S2000 cars even further."