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Thursday, 25 March 2010 00:00

Storming weekend for MML Sports cars

This weekend saw a pair of excellent results for drivers at the wheel of MML Sports Mitsubishi rally cars. António Nunes narrowly missed out on the Group N class victory on Rally Porto Santo Line, the first round of the Madeira Rally Championship while David Westenbrink claimed fifth in his first outing in the Lancer WRCar on the Tank-S rally, round two of the Dutch series.

Nunes was at the wheel of the MML Sports Gp N Lancer EvoX for the first time and was immediately on the pace. He took the Group N stage win on three of the event's first eight stages, including the event opener, to hold the class lead throughout the day and an excellent third place overall.

The competition was incredibly tight but approaching the final stage, fate was to intervene. Running behind the reigning champion, João Magalhães, on the road, Nunes approached the start line as the skies darkened. Magalhães had already completed the stage when the rain began to fall and Nunes was hampered by damp conditions throughout the 8.5Km stage.

Despite this, he finished the event second in Group N, a tantalising 1.2seconds behind Magalhães on his debut in the MML Sports-prepared Lancer EvoX. He was also fifth overall, an excellent achievement against drivers more experienced in their respective cars.

While Nunes was impressing on his debut, so was David Westenbrink on the Tank-S Rally in Holland. Just like Nunes, Westenbrink was at the wheel of an MML Sports WRCar run by the ATM team for the first time but not only was he driving the Lancer, this was also his first time in a World Rally Car.

He began cautiously, learning the car and how to drive it and steadily improved his pace throughout the 20-stage event. He held 12th place overall in the early part of the event but thanks to his improving times and experience which netted him an outright stage win, climbed to fifth overall by the end of the event.

However, even more encouraging was the fact that without the time loss through a spin and a stall, some 90 seconds, he would potentially have finished third, an excellent debut.

Commenting on the weekend, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said: "This was an excellent weekend for us, with both drivers achieving superb results.

"António was very pleased with the speed of the Group N Lancer EvoX as well as the standards of preparation, particularly when you compare his performance against cars which cost considerably more to build. I'm almost as pleased as he is that he was able to achieve and maintain the Group N class lead and would have taken the win had it not begun to rain as he started the last stage.

"David also did very well, for his first time in a World Rally Car. He approached the event perfectly, feeling his way in and his speed improved with every kilometre.

"Again, this was a clear demonstration that the Lancer WRCar is extremely competitive and easy to drive quickly."

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