Next weekend will mark the finale of this year’s Latvian Rally Championship and will be a busy one for MML Sports, as it fields no less than six Mitsubishi rally cars for the event. It will run its usual pair of Lancer World Rally Cars, backed-up by a quartet of Group N Lancer EvolutionXs, making it the company’s busiest event of the year.
The Lancer World Rally Cars will be driven by regular pilots Ivars Vasaraudzis and Raimonds Kisiels. While Vasaraudzis, co-driven by Peteris Spredzis, is no longer able to win the national championship, he will be looking to round off his season with another win, to add to his tally of three so far this year.
Kisiels will also be looking to capitalise on his best performance to date on the penultimate round of the series, the Kurzeme Rally, when he finished second overall. He will again be partnered by co-driver Arnis Ronis.
MML Sports will also be running four GpN Lancer EvoXs, three for the trio of Russian drivers and one for up-and-coming British rally star, Tom Cave.
This event will be the second competitive outing for Alexander Novoselov, who finished last month’s Kerzume Rally in 31st place overall on his rally debut. However, it will be the first outing for both Vladimir Sokolov and Mikhail Orkin, who ran as VIP cars on Rally Talsi but will experience the true heat of competition next weekend.
All three drivers will receive further pre-event training with former British Rally Champion Mark Higgins in the run-up to the event, providing them with the basics of actual competition to build on their experience so far.
The fourth GpN EvoX, MML Sports’ development car, will be driven by Tom Cave. The 18 year-old has been competing in both Group N cars and Super 2000 machinery this season and is returning to Latvia, where he earned his international Rally license after three years of competition from the age of 14.
Commenting on the upcoming event, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said: “This weekend is going to be our busiest in Latvia since the company was formed. I thought that Rally Talsi in May was good but we have an extra car on Rally Latvia, so that gives us six cars and crews to look after.
“I hope that Ivars is able to put in the performance we’ve come to expect from him here – to win. It’s obviously very frustrating that he now can’t win the championship but I’m sure he and Peteris will be looking to end the season with a win on the final round – I’m sure that will go a long way to keeping them going during the off-season.
“I also hope that Raimonds is able to repeat the form he showed on Kurzeme. Everything came together for him there and I think that result will do wonders for not only his ability but also, his confidence.
“It will be excellent to see Alexander, Mikhail and Vladimir back in the team together. Only Alex was able to compete on Kurzeme, so we’re looking forward to having all three back in the EvoX and actually competing in the event. I think they will all benefit from Mark’s pre-event work and will reap the rewards on this rally.
“I’m also looking forward to seeing what Tom can do with the car. I know he has shown a lot of potential in both older GpN cars and S2000 and also knows this event quite well. The standard of competition in Latvia, particularly on this event, is incredibly high and I hope that he is able to demonstrate that potential in what I believe is the definitive GpN EvoX.”
The event begins with a superspecial stage on the afternoon of Saturday 25 September before a full day of competition on Sunday 66 September, comprising eight stages before the first crews arrive at the finish at 17.20, local time.