Two outright victories by drivers of MML Sports-prepared and run Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Cars last weekend netted each driver the lead in their respective championships. Mark van Eldik won the Ele Rally and now heads the tables in the Dutch series while Ivars Vasaraudzis took yet another win, on the Madona Rally in Latvia, and now leads the championship in the Baltic state.
In Holland, van Eldik had an event-long battle with the 2008 Ford Focus WRC of Erik van Loon. Van Eldik set the early pace, claiming the stage win on the first timed test but then, van Loon took four wins in a row to hold the overall lead at the end of the first leg.
Van Eldik began the second day on a charge and claimed nine consecutive stage wins, taking over the lead on stage 11 of the 18-stage rally. An error by van Loon on the following stage handed van Eldik a healthy near 30-second advantage and it looked to be in the bag. However, a last minute scare for van Eldik on the penultimate stage cost him 40 seconds, cutting his winning margin by the end of the event to just shy of four seconds.
Things were more straightforward for Vasaraudzis though. He took the win on each of the six stages making up the Madona Rally, to claim an outright win with a margin of more than a minute. Team-mate Raimonds Kisiels finished fifth overall, after a slow start but a string of top-three stage times on the second day of the event.
The results mean that both van Eldik and Vasaraudzis lead their championships as each reaches the halfway point of the season – another outstanding weekend for MML Sports World Rally Cars.