The company formed from what was the works Mitsubishi rally team, MML Sports Ltd, was voted runner-up in last week’s Rugby Chamber of Commerce New Business of the Year Awards. This bears out the clear potential which led to MML Sports being formed by John Easton and a number of former Ralliart Europe employees at the beginning of the year.
MML Sports Ltd was one of 12 companies to be nominated for the New Business of the Year award by the local Chamber of Commerce. Of those 12, it was also one of the five that were shortlisted for the final, presented at a gala dinner last week.
And while it was not voted as the New Business of the Year, Managing Director John Easton was not disappointed: “I have to say, we were surprised to be there at all. For 12 companies to be nominated and five shortlisted, to be runner-up was a fantastic achievement, I feel, particularly as the company has only actually been in business for five and a half months.”
The order book for MML Sports justifies its inclusion in the running for the award. It has recently been commissioned to build three Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvoXs in Indonesia for the Asia Pacific Rally Championship and the Indonesian Rally Championship and currently has a team of technicians on site, working with the local technicians building the cars and preparing them for their competition debuts.
“The build of the three cars had already begun when they contacted us,” explains Easton “but we have been able to integrate the vast majority of our parts to ensure that the cars will run to MML Sports specification as much as possible. We will also be supporting the cars in both the Indonesian and AS-PAC championships to maximise the chances of success for the team.“
Easton will also be travelling to Lebanon next month for a series of meeting aimed at introducing the Group N EvoX to the Middle East, one of the most hotly-contested regional championships in rallying. The company has also received significant interest in the hire and purchase of several Mitsubishi Lancer World Rally Cars, from France, Barbados and other Eastern European nations.
With interest in its products and services so high, the company is not resting on its laurels. It is continually developing the EvoX, with additional engine work scheduled for July prior to another test to evaluate the engine and suspension work ready for its next competition outing in the late summer.
In the meantime, the company will run Csaba Spitzmuller in the next round of the Hungarian Rally Championship, the Veszprem Rally over the weekend of 3-5 July. This is the first gravel round of the series and Spitzi’s favoured surface; that, combined with the fact that he has won the event for the last two years, should ensure that he and co-driver Miki Kazar start the event as firm favourites.
Summing up, Easton was understandably buoyant about the first summer for MML Sports. “When we launched the company at the start of the year, I couldn’t have hoped that we would have been this busy by the summer,” he said. “Interest in the Group N EvoX is huge and the car is improving all the time, as we continually develop every aspect of it. I think the car that will compete towards the end of the summer will be a big step forward from what we already consider to be a good car. The fact that we are getting interest in it from around the world suggests that the motorsport community seems to feel the same way.”
“Now that people are starting to understand that we also have eight Lancer World Rally Cars on the fleet available for hire or for sale, interest in them has soared as well. We know that they are still very competitive at national and regional levels, as Spitzi has shown in Hungary and Ivars [Vasaraudzis] in Latvia and we hope to have more of those competing towards the end of the year.”