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Tuesday, 22 September 2009 00:00

Successful weekend of business and pleasure

This weekend saw another two days of frantic activity for MML Sports, the organisation formed from the former Mitsubishi works rally team. While Mark van Eldik was contesting his second event in Holland in the MML Sports Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Car, former works driver Alister McRae was also putting the Lancer WRC05 through its paces at RallyDay, the UK’s foremost spectator event.

This was the second event for Van Eldik, the first two weeks ago when he set the fastest stage time on half of the Amsterdam RallySprint less than two days after driving the car for the first time. This time, on the Hellendoorf Rally, he continued where he left off, leading the event by the mid-point of Saturday morning. He was facing much stiffer competition this time, with no less than 14 World Rally Cars on the event, including a pair of 2009 Subaru Imprezas and a 2008 Ford Focus.

However, his chances of claiming his maiden win on only his second event were cut short after a gearbox hydraulic system actuator bracket broke and he was forced to drive using the mechanical shift instead of the paddles. While this didn't cause any great loss of time, his relative lack of time in the car led to a pair of spins later in the day. He still put in an extremely good performance though, to take third overall behind the Focus in first and one of the Subarus in second.

While van Eldik was competing in Holland, the rest of the team were at the Castle Combe racetrack in Wiltshire, UK for RallyDay 2009. The event brings together some of the most iconic cars and drivers from rallying and with no pressure for a result, all put on an incredible show for the legions of spectators.

Former Mitsubishi works driver Alister McRae was at the wheel of another MML Sports Lancer WRC05 for the event and didn't disappoint. He carried out a series of runs during the day, co-driven by several winners of charity auctions and raffles run by MML Sports.

As the main objective of the day was to show off the Lancer WRC05, Alister approached the event with his trademark flamboyance, sliding the car at huge angles and performing a routine of donuts, spinning on the spot to rapturous applause from the crowds. He was also over-run when he returned to the MML Sports service area, where fans were queuing for autographs and MML Sports merchandise in equal measure.

Not only was McRae delighting the crowds, his car was also rigged with four High Definition video cameras, as the organisers of the event focussed on MML Sports for a video to be produced to promote the event. There were also a further three cameras outside the car, recording his every slide and donut and the resulting video will be available to view on YouTube as well as the MML Sports website in the coming weeks.

Commenting after the weekend, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; "This was a fantastic weekend for us. Of course, it's a shame that Mark didn't achieve the result that it looked like he might be able to get but it's also extremely encouraging that he was able to set fastest times against much younger World Rally Cars and we're pretty happy with that.

"The response to the company and Alister back in a Mitsubishi at RallyDay was also amazing. Our service area was mobbed all day and it is very gratifying to be able to chat with rally fans from all around Europe. We are also very excited about the prospect of seeing the video that the RallyDay organisers were filming at the event and are honoured that they chose to focus on us and Alister for the film.

"Our next weekend of activity will also be a busy one, as we will be running two World Rally Cars on Rally Latvia, as well as a pair of Group N EvoXs on Rally Indonesia, which we have helped the local team develop for the remainder of the 2009 Asia Pacific Championship."

Click HERE for the latest event images in our gallery.

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