This weekend was one of mixed fortunes for the rally teams competing with the assistance of MML Sports. The Team Kibos rally team finished the SASOL Rally South Africa in 12th place but third in the FIA African Rally Championship standings, while Neil Armstrong was putting in another superb performance, leading the Valvoline Rally in Barbados before an accident caused his retirement.
The Team Kibos driver, Jassie Chatthe, was driving the MML Sports Safari-specification Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX for the first time on the SASOL Rally South Africa, the second round of the continental series. He had his first taste of the car at the pre-event shakedown and found it very different to what he had been used to.
During the course of the rally, he gradually familiarised himself with the car and was putting in top three Group N stage times. By the time he and co-driver David Sihoka reached the finish of the 14 stage event, they were in 12th place overall, third in Group N and crucially, third in the FIA ARC standings.
The result means that, even though they missed the first round of the series, both Jassie and David hold fourth place in the driver and co-driver standings respectively.
In Barbados, the Simpsons Motors team was competing in the Valvoline Rally using the MML Sports-prepared and run Suzuki SX4 World Rally Car. Driver Neil Armstrong and co-driver Barry Ward once again set the pace, leading the event as the cars entered the sixth timed test.
However, a rare error by Armstrong meant an accident for the crew and while both were thankfully unharmed, they were unable to continue the event.
Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; “I was impressed with Jassie’s approach to the SASOL rally. He had never done the event before and gradually settled into the stages and the car and his gains in confidence were plain to see. I think, seeing how rough the stages were, to finish his first time on the rally and his first time in a new car and third in the ARC standings is an excellent result.
“It was a shame that Neil wasn’t able to translate his now trademark pace into the result that should have been his. However, it is a timely reminder that rallying is a sport where things can go wrong very quickly and the smallest error can have a large outcome. We are just glad that both Neil and Barry are OK.”