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Tuesday, 21 July 2009 00:00

Continuing development of Group N EvoX and Lancer WRCar

Following what it described as a successful first outing for its Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvoX rally car, MML Sports has confirmed a raft of developments that have taken place on the car, ready for its next outing in August. The company has also carried out a development program on the engine of the Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Car that will give Hungarian Rally Champion Csaba Spitzmuller an advantage and will be rolled out across the fleet of eight WRCars imminently.

It was clear from the Group N EvoX’s debut on the Talsi Rally in Latvia in May that although it was already a very well developed car, there was plenty more to come. As a result, the company has been working hard since that event to ensure that more of its potential is realised next time out.

The exhaust issue that denied MML Sports and driver Guy Wilks a better result in Talsi has now been resolved; a external manufacturing fault led to two defective catalytic converters unknowingly being used on the car, which severely reduced engine power output and hampered progress.

The company has also carried out more work on the engine dyno, concentrating on the mapping and fuelling systems. The result is an outright increase in both torque and power but just as importantly, greatly improved driveability thanks to the work on the torque curve.

Much work has been carried out with BOS, the damper manufacturers, to further improve the specifications and settings, for a variety of conditions and surfaces to deal with all types of rally, from smooth tarmac to rough gravel.

MML Sports has also revisited the base shell in an effort to refine the detail work and by revising the EvoX’s underfloor protection and bodyshell, has managed to remove an additional 20Kg in weight from the overall car, with obviously improvements in performance and handling.

The developments will not only be incorporated into MML Sports’ own EvoX for its next outing, they will also feature on the four cars which the company is currently building locally in Indonesia for the Asia-Pacific and Indonesian championships.

MML Sports itself will next be in action on the Kerzume Rally in Latvia, over the weekend of 28 and 29 August. Once again, Guy Wilks will drive the EvoX on the event, which forms part of the Latvian Rally Championship. The rally will be preceded by a UK test in mid-August and this will be followed by a two or three-day test in Latvia immediately before the event, to fine-tune the car’s set-up.

Commenting on the development work, MML Sports Ltd Managing Director John Easton said: “When we debuted the Group N EvoX in May, we knew that there was much more to come from it and we are starting to unlock its true potential now. The engine work we have carried out should mean that the car is not only quicker but also easier to drive and combined with the reduced weight, should give a significant improvement in pace. The damper work will also have a big benefit on the handling, which has already been praised by Guy.

“We have chosen the Kurzeme Rally as the next outing because like Talsi, the level of competition will be very high and we need that to demonstrate just how competitive our Group N EvoX is. Like Talsi, it was a foregone conclusion to ask Guy to drive the car again, since he gave so much useful feedback on the first event and is extremely quick.

“I hope that this time, we have a clean run and as a team, can show what we know the car is capable of.”

In the meantime, MML Sports will be in action again with reigning Hungarian Rally Champion Csaba Spitzmuller, as he tackles the next round of the 2009 series, the PECS Rally over the weekend of 1-2 August. The company has also been carrying out a development program on the Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Car that Spitzi uses and feels that the gains will give him a definite edge.

Once again, the focus of the work has been on mapping and fuelling and gives what Easton describes as a ‘significant improvement’ over the engine’s previous specification.

“I think that the engine work on the Lancer WRC05 for Spitzi will definitely give him an advantage,” said Easton. “The 2008 season was predominantly gravel, his favoured surface but 2009 is mainly tarmac. This work is part of an on-going development program to move the car and Spitzi forward together, as an all-round winning package and I’m confident we’ll see the benefits of this on the PECS.

“These improvements will then be applied to the remaining seven Lancer World Rally Cars on the fleet, which we hope to see in competition in the near future.”

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