This spring is shaping up to be one filled with success for MML Sports Ltd, with a rally win and two podium finishes already for cars run by the company formed from the ex works Mitsubishi Rally team. Sean Gill won the second of the two rounds of the Barbados Sprint event on 11 March while Bert de Jong was third in the Tanks Rally and Tristan Bailey also came third on the National section of the Bulldog Rally in the UK.
The event in Barbados was the first outing for the MML Sports-prepared Simpsons Motors Suzuki SX4 WRC in 2012 and Gill was a close second on the first part of the event, comprised of three runs in one direction. However, the second part reversed the course and he was fastest over all three runs to claim the win for the second section.
On the Tanks Rally, Bert was up against no less than six World Rally Cars, including his son Bob’s Mitsubishi Lancer WRC. Despite the large field, Bert maintained his composure and arrived at the finish of the event in third place overall, with the win going to WRC regular Dennis Kuipers in a 2008 Subaru Impreza WRCar and second to another WRC driver, Barnhard ten Brinke, in a Ford Fiesta WRC.
After a slow start, Bailey picked up the pace on the five-stage National Bulldog Rally and by the end of the event, was second-fastest on the final stage, just 0.5 seconds slower than eventual winner Matt Edwards.
Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; “We’ve had a great start to the season so far. Following on from the pace that Alaa [Khalifa] showed in Jordan, it was great to see Sean do so well in the Suzuki on the car’s first event of the year.
“It’s also very good to see Bert start his season with a podium and Tristan is definitely getting to grips with the Lancer world car. He was just 0.5 seconds off taking his first stage win in the car at the weekend and we’re keen to see him get a scratch time before too long.”
While March was busy, April will be even more so for MML Sports, with events every weekend throughout the month, and multiple rallies on one weekend.
The first is the next outing for the Simpsons Motors SX4 WRC when it competes in Trinidad, followed over the Easter weekend by an event in the Czech Republic. The team will then move to Slovakia for the Presov Rally, before heading further east to the Rallymasters Show in Moscow over the weekend of 20/21 April.
The company will be running Latvian driver Ivars Vasaraudzis in the Mitsubishi Lancer WRC and has been invited by the organisers of the event, which was won last year by former British Rally Champion Mark Higgins.
While part of the team will be in Moscow, another crew will be in southern England, for the Somerset Stages, the third round of the BTRDA series supporting Bailey.
The final event for April will be back to the Czech Republic, rounding out a frantic month of activity for the company.