Slovakian driver Jaroslav Melicharek claimed his first win of the 2011 season last weekend, when he took his MML Sports-prepared and run Mitsubishi Lancer WRC to outright victory on the Tribec Rally, the third round of the national series.
Following on from his third place on the season opener, he drove a dominant rally, claiming six stage wins from the nine stages that made up the one-day event, based in and around Topolclanska.
The Mitsubishi driver certainly didn’t have the rally his own way though – he was facing a 2008 Ford Focus WRC, a Subaru Impreza WRCar, a Skoda Fabia WRC and a handful of Super2000 cars, all lightweight, nimble and particularly suited to the tight and twisty tarmac forming the event.
He and the driver of the Focus, Grzegorz Grzyb, swapped position for the lead five times throughout the event, with Melicharek claiming the scratch time on six of the nine stages. By the end of the rally, although Grzyb had a seven second advantage on the road, the fact that he drove straight through a chicane meant he picked up a ten second penalty and therefore, Melicharek took the event win.
Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said: “I’m delighted that Jaroslav has taken a win this early in the season. It demonstrates that he is serious about this year’s championship and is clearly at home in the Lancer WRC.
“It is also encouraging to know that the Lancer is still extremely competitive, particularly against younger machinery. We know the car is easy to drive quickly, from all the success we’ve had previously but it is always nice to see it beating World Rally Cars which are at least three years younger.”