There was more to celebrate for MML Sports, the UK-based motorsport preparation company, this weekend, with another win and a top five finish in the results book for drivers of cars prepared and run by the company. Jaspreth ‘Jassi’ Chatthe was in action again, this time in the Kenyan Rally Championship and took another event win while Cyrille Feraud took fifth in only his second event at the wheel of his new-for-2014 Mitsubishi Lancer WRC.
Hot off the back of the win in Tanzania in the FIA African Rally Championship, Jassi and Team Kibos were in an optimistic mood as they approached the KCB Mbenki Rally in Nanyuki. The event featured three short stages on Friday with the bulk of the mileage on Saturday, including the Kisima stage, close to Chatthe’s home region.
It transpired to be a rally of attrition, with many drivers suffering either mechanical issues or crashing. However, Chatthe and co-driver David Sihoka avoided the pitfalls suffered by many to reach the finish ramp as winners, with a margin of almost six minutes over second place.
In France, Feraud was competing in only his second event in the Lancer WRC on the Rally Terre de Langres, having crashed the car heavily on his debut. This, combined with the appalling weather conditions that saw torrential rain and extremely slippery stages, meant that he was ready to adopt a careful and conservative approach to the event.
The first two stages went well – fourth and third-fastest respectively but on the third timed test, he witnessed first-hand how bad the conditions were, sliding into a straw bale used to mark the course and immediately losing his confidence and concentration. The time loss demoted him to ninth overall but he soon began a fight back, as he regained his confidence and gained a better understanding of how to drive the Lancer WRC.
His times gradually improved and despite a stall later in in the second day, he climbed back up to fifth overall by the time the crews reached the finish, in only his second rally and first finish in the Lancer.
Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; “I’m really pleased that Jassi took another win, his first and the first for the team this year in the Kenyan Championship. This weekend was another example of combining speed and care to bring the car home on an event where damage and retirements were present throughout the field.
“As a result, Jassi and the team now lead both the Kenyan and the African Rally Championships, which is a fantastic achievement at this stage.
“I’m also very pleased with Cyrille’s performance in France. His first outing was a bit of a nightmare, with a heavy impact into a tree meaning a huge amount of work to get the car repaired for this event. However, he adapted what I think was the perfect approach – a small push to begin with then backing-off to make sure he got through the worst of the conditions.
“He learned a huge amount about the car this weekend and while he hit a straw bale and lost confidence for a while, the car was only superficially damaged and he carried on to get not only a really good result, considering the number of world rally cars in the event but also, a useful amount of experience and confidence.”