It was a weekend to celebrate for MML Sports, the UK-based rally preparation company, with a win for two crews using cars prepared by the company. Jaspreth ‘Jassi’ Chatthe claimed his first win in the 2014 FIA African Rally Championship, taking victory on the Tanzania Rally at the wheel of the Team Kibos GpN Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX while in Holland, Bob de Jong claimed the win on the ELE Rally in his MML Sports Mitsubishi Lancer WRC.
The Oryx Energies Rally of Tanzania ran over one evening and two full days and comprised 16 stages, totalling almost 238 stage kilometres. The challenge from Mohammed Essa evaporated early, with the Zambian retiring with a broken steering arm. Jassi and co-driver David Sihoka took control of the event from the second stage and never looked back, maintaining the lead throughout the remaining two days of competition.
In fact, they were virtually the only crew to complete the event without any problems, reaching the finish podium with an eventual winning margin of more than seven minutes.
The result means that Chatthe now holds joint overall lead in the championship with Gary Chaynes, having contested three of the first four rounds of the series. There are four rounds remaining of the 2014 FIA African Rally Championship.
While Jassi and David were driving round the conditions in Tanzania, reigning Dutch Rally Champion Bob de Jong was back in action in his MML Sports-prepared Mitsubishi Lancer WRC on the Ele Rally, running close to Eindhoven in Holland.
This year marked the 50th anniversary of the event and it has featured a Lancer WRC on the podium every year for the last five years, three of which were wins. Bob was also favourite for the event, having won it in 2013 and he didn’t disappoint, claiming the stage win on 12 of the rally’s 20 stages.
He and Jeroen Swaanen in a Citroen C4 WRC enjoyed a rally-long battle, the two the only drivers to win a stage. However, Bob set his stall out early and led the event from the first timed test, ending with a winning margin of more than 35 seconds.
Commenting on the weekend, MML Sports Managing Director, John Easton, said; “This was a perfect weekend for us – two rallies and two wins and I could not be happier.
“In Tanzania, Team Kibos adopted exactly the right approach, knowing that the roads would be very rough. Jassi drove a very measured and mature rally, avoiding the problems that almost everyone else had. In contrast, we only fitted new tyres to the car and fuelled it at service and the result was plain to see – a win with more than seven minutes over second place.
“I think the fact that Jassi and David now jointly lead the championship is a very just reward for the effort they and the team put in this weekend. I’m also very glad that our EvoX Group N car showed not only pace but strength and reliability, which are crucial on these events.
“It’s also great to see Bob winning on the ELE Rally again. I know it’s an event he enjoys and seems to suit both him and the Lancer WRC. And it’s encouraging to see the car is competitive against the Citroen and the Ford Fiesta WRC.”