RALLYING: Success for Rugby’s rally team

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Victory in South America

Last weekend saw an emphatic victory for Paraguay driver Gustavo Saba on the International Rally of Erechim driving his MML Sports-equipped Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX R4.

Not only was Saba’s EvoX fitted with the official Mitsubishi R4 kit, jointly-developed by MML Sports but the company also provided set-up data which Saba admitted transformed the car’s handling.

The three-day event was the second round of the South American Rally Championship and Saba, with co-driver Victor Aguilera, took the lead on the first day. He went on to maintain it through to the end of the event, with an outright winning margin of over a minute, more than two minutes to the Toyota Corolla S2000 of Alejando Galanti in Class 2 and a further 45 seconds ahead of the Ford Fiesta S2000 of Miguel Zaldivar.

This was the first time Saba had used the official Mitsubishi R4 kit, which has already demonstrated its effectiveness at the hands of Jari Ketomaa, who enjoyed a rally-long battle with WRC regular Ott Tanak in the Fiesta S2000 in Latvia last year.

In addition to the hardware, Saba also asked MML Sports for set-up advice and the company provided the settings developed by Ketomaa for the R4 car. These were initially very different from Saba’s existing set-up for the Group N Lancer but he switched to the MML Sports settings and was amazed by the difference.

He admitted that the car was much easier to drive, faster, more stable and inspired far more confidence than before. He immediately demonstrated this by winning his first event by more than a minute.

There was more to celebrate though, as Bob de Jong, son of long-time MML Sports customer Bert, took his first outright win at the wheel of his new-for-2012 Mitsubishi Lancer WRC. Competing on the Autosoft Vechtdal Rally in Belgium, he enjoyed an event-long battle with Eric Bolhaar in a Skoda Fabia WRC06. Bolhaar took the win on the first two stages but de Jong overhauled him on the third and maintained the lead for the remaining five stages, taking his first win in the MML Sports-prepared Lancer WRC.

Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; “I am delighted that Gustavo claimed such an emphatic win on his first event with our R4 upgrade kit. I am also particularly pleased that we were able to help him with set-up for the car and it proved so effective. He was delighted with the results, even though he was a little apprehensive to begin with, as our settings were so different to what he had been running.

“But he soon understood how well the car can work, thanks to the development we carried out last year with out in-house test drivers and with Jari. I am delighted that we can now count South America among the countries and continents where our cars and those with our kit have achieved victory.

“It was also very gratifying to see Bob take his first win in the Lancer WRC just a few weeks after taking delivery of the car. It once again proves that the Lancer WRC is still an extremely competitive car and one which is very easy for drivers to achieve success with.”