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Nový příspěvekod PLuto » ned 22.11.2009 22:01

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Nový příspěvekod PLuto » čtv 27.01.2011 22:15

New year and new projects for MML Sports

Final prep of MML Sports-developed Suzuki SX4 'World Rally Car'

. Homologation of official Mitsubishi R4 kit
. Completion of Cosworth Subaru Impreza 400 build
. Development of MML400 EvoX road car
. Build of historic specification Ford Escort
. Full speed launch of rally season

While for many the early part of the year is a quiet one, the opposite has turned out to be the case for MML Sports Ltd, the Rugby, UK-based motorsport and high performance specialists. Approaching the end of January, the company has recently completed a number of projects and is in the process of several new ones, while approaching the start of its traditional multi-regional rally programme.

Following its exceptional debut in December, when Sean Gill took it to second place overall on Rally Jamaica, the company is putting the finishing touches to the Suzuki SX4 'World Rally Car' that it built for Simpson Motors, the Suzuki distributor for the Caribbean. Using suspension, transmission and electronics systems MML Sports refined over several years in the FIA World Rally Championship, the car uses an engine developed by its engine partner, HKS in conjunction with Simpson Motors and MML Sports.

The company has been constantly developing its version of the Group N Mitsubishi Lancer EvolutionX rally car and has recently been tasked by Mitsubishi Motors Corporation to partner with Ralliart Italy to develop, homologate and produce the kit of parts to convert GpN EvoXs to R4 specification.

This latest specification introduced by the FIA is aimed at equalising the performance of Group N and Super2000 and the first step focuses on weight reduction. A heated windscreen allows the heater to be removed and lightweight panels, Perspex windows and fabricated suspension components mean that the GpN EvoX will weigh some 45Kg less in R4 specification. And if the lightweight battery, turbo housing and underfloor protection developed by MML Sports are also used, this sheds a further 15Kg from the car giving a total weight saving of over 60Kg.

The company's facilities and ability to respond quickly to customer demands were exploited by one of the most iconic names in motorsport recently, when Cosworth approached MML Sports to carry out the actual conversion work on its special edition of the road-going Subaru Impreza, the 400. The task involved MML Sports removing the engine from all 75 production cars and shipping it to Cosworth for the internal work, before refitting the engine, as well as replacing the suspension, brakes and fuel system and then setting each car up on its computerised four-wheel alignment system.

Just as the Cosworth job was beginning, the company started development of its own high performance version of the road-going Lancer EvoX, dubbed the 'MML400', denoting 400bhp. Initial examples used the traditional, manual transmission but MML Sports is in the process of developing the SST or dual-clutch paddle-shift transmission to cope with the increased power and torque generated by its conversion, as well as increase shift speed. This will be the first time the SST gearbox will have been able to handle increased performance and MML Sports is understandably excited by the prospect.

But it's not all ultra-high technology; the company has also been engaged to build a historic specification Mk1 Ford Escort rally car. The bodyshell work and roll cage installation have already been carried out and the car will feature a Willcox engine, ZF transmission and a full-floating rear axle, as well as every other genuine period accessory to recreate one of the most evocative rally cars of all time.

And of course, all this is taking place as the company gears up for the start of its 2011 rally campaign, using its fleet of Mitsubishi Lancer WRC05 World Rally Cars and Group N EvoXs. By the end of February, it will have contested rallies in Lithuania, Latvia and the Netherlands, as well as carried out two tests and a rally in Barbados for the Suzuki SX4 and a further test in the snow and ice of Latvia.

Commenting, MML Sports Managing Director John Easton said; "I don't think we've ever had such a busy start to the year, even when we were running the Mitsubishi works rally team. We worked literally up to Christmas and hit the ground running as soon as we got back in the New Year.

"I'm certainly not complaining though. It's incredibly exciting to be involved in so many projects, spanning almost every area that we operate in. For example, I'm delighted that Mitsubishi has asked us to partner with Ralliart Italy to develop, homologate and then, produce and distribute the components for the first phase of the R4 programme. We have already managed to shave 60Kg off the finished weight of the GpN EvoX and we're very pleased with that.

"The work on the Cosworth Imprezas went very well. We worked with Cosworth to try to streamline the production and procurement elements of the program and converted all the cars within the time frame and to their satisfaction. This spurred us on to speed up the development of the MML400 and working with our transmission partners, I'm looking forward to debuting the first 400bhp SST-equipped EvoX.

"On the sporting side, the Suzuki SX4 turned out very well and we are currently putting the finishing touches on the car prior to returning it to the Caribbean for the start of the season. We have two UK tests scheduled and I'm sure by the time it gets to its first event, it will be a winning car. Our other programmes are also about to start, with the Winter rally in Lithuania, where Ivars will drive the GpN EvoX for the first time in competition. Then Sarma Rally in Latvia and Haspengouw in Holland, before the end of February.

"I thought last year was busy but I may have underestimated it..."

Obrázek
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Gareth MacHale to skip Irish Tarmac Rally Championship opene

Nový příspěvekod PLuto » čtv 03.02.2011 17:14

Gareth MacHale to skip Irish Tarmac Rally Championship opener

Reigning champion Gareth MacHale will miss this weekend’s opening round of the Irish Tarmac Rally Championship due to budget difficulties.

MacHale, whose father Austin is a six-time ITRC champion, clinched his first crown last year driving a Ford Focus WRC with co-driver Brian Murphy. However he will skip the Galway International event after losing a sponsor.

Despite the setback, MacHale hopes to contest the remaining six rounds and still believes he can retain his title this year.

“It is very disappointing not to be heading to Galway,” MacHale told Motorsport News. “My family has a long association with the event and it is always a good rally. But the best five of the seven rounds count, so there is time yet.”
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Multiple champion Crocker to take on APRC events in 2011

Nový příspěvekod PLuto » čtv 03.02.2011 17:17

Multiple champion Crocker to take on APRC events in 2011

Four-time champion Cody Crocker will return to selected FIA Asia Pacific Rally Championship events in 2011 after revealing he will drive in the Australian and New Zealand rounds with Cusco Racing WRT.

Crocker, who won the APRC title every year from 2006-09 will represent the team in a Subaru Impreza WRX Sti on the Rally of Queensland in May and Rally of Whangarei in July and is also hoping to find the funding to do the Rally of New Caledonia in June.

"My main role for Cusco is to help them win the Team prize,” Crocker explained. “We're trying to secure extra funding for New Caledonia so that I can also enter the Pacific Cup.

"Independently of the Cusco partnership I'm also working on an opportunity to do the Malaysian Championship and if that happens it would mean I could enter the Malaysian round of the APRC too, but there's a long way to go yet.”

Meanwhile, Cusco Racing has also confirmed its other drivers for an expanded campaign in the APRC.

Rifat Sungkar will return with co-driver Scott Beckwith to take on all of the championship’s six rounds in a Mitsubishi Lancer Evolution X, while Japanese driver Yuya Sumiyama and his co-driver Naoki Kase will contest the three Asia Cup events in their Mitsubishi.

Elsewhere the team plans to run two Proton Satria Neo cars under the ‘Cusco Proton Junior Team’ banner. Akira Bamba is confirmed to contest the four rounds that make up the Junior Trophy, while an as-yet un-named all-Malaysian crew will man the other car, taking on five rounds.
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Lloyd and Barnes for Tuthill Porsche drives

Nový příspěvekod PLuto » pát 04.02.2011 14:34

Lloyd and Barnes for Tuthill Porsche drives

Well-known British privateers John Lloyd and Andrew Barnes have signed up for the Tuthill Porsche Challenge: a one-make series for classic Porsche 911s that will take place over five rounds this year.

Lloyd has contested numerous World Rally Championship events and is also well-known for his exploits in historic endurance rallying, finishing fourth in the 2005 Safari with a Tuthill Porsche and third in the 2004 event. Last year, he also finished fourth in the Rallye International du Maroc with a Mk II Ford Escort.

Barnes, like Lloyd, has driven a Ford Focus WRC on the BTRDA championship – a national championship based in Britain – and also finished fourth on the 2003 Safari: his first long-distance rally.

The Tuthill Porsche Challenge starts with the Bulldog Rally in Wales, followed by the Pirelli Rally, the Severn Valley Historic Challenge and the Ulster Rally before concluding with the McRae Stages in Scotland. 



Tuthill Porsche director Richard Tuthill commented: “I’m absolutely delighted that John and Andrew will be joining us. They’re both great drivers and great sportsmen, who will make fantastic ambassadors for the series. We’ve got some exciting plans in place for this all-new series, including a very special guest, so we can’t wait to get started.”
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Changes planned for Jordan Rally

Nový příspěvekod PLuto » stř 23.02.2011 22:38

Changes planned for Jordan Rally

Organisers of the Jordan Rally are promising "fresh challenges" for competitors contesting the fourth round of the 2011 World Rally Championship.

Based at the Dead Sea Resort, the event will feature 320 kilometres of competitive stage action when it runs from 14-16 April.

The gravel event first appeared on the world championship calendar in 2008. Its Saturday finish, which is a rarity in the WRC, is to respect the traditional Arabic weekend.

Clerk of the course Randa Nabulsi said: “The route has taken all the best aspects of 2010 and added some fresh challenges for the teams. The previous two events have received glowing reports from the WRC family and we are working hard to ensure this year’s event is even bigger and better.”

While the ancient Roman city of Jerash will once again host the ceremonial start of the rally on the morning of 14 April, the Rumman Forest stage, which took place close by, has been removed from the itinerary as part of efforts by the rally organisers to “ease the pressure on drivers, spectators and media reaching the early stages”, according to a statement.

The twisty Ma’in stage is a new addition to the schedule and organisers are currently supervising the construction of roads that will take competitors from below sea level through to 600 metres above.

In further changes, the water splash on the popular Dead Sea stage - located at the lowest point on Earth - is back on the competitive route, while plans are in place to include two spectacular jumps.

Jordan Rally bosses have again chosen the impressive King Hussein Bin Talal Convention Centre to house the event headquarters and media centre, while the service park will again overlook the Dead Sea and across to the Palestinian hills.

Competitors contesting the FIA’s Middle East Rally Championship will tackle a separate rally held on days two and three of the main event.
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Nový příspěvekod PLuto » ned 10.04.2011 18:41

Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles preview

Following its victorious double podium on the opening FIA Asia-Pacific Rally Championship round in Malaysia earlier this month, the PROTON Motorsports team returns to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge in Gran Canaria later this week.

This week’s Rally Islas Canarias El Corte Ingles will mark two-time FIA European Rally Champion Giandomencio Basso’s debut with the Malaysian manufacturer. And there couldn’t be a better time for the Italian rally star to be stepping aboard the Satria Neo S2000 following the team’s recent first and third on the Malaysian Rally.

The Satria Neo S2000 has undergone significant changes from last season and the Far Eastern outing was the first event for the new specification machine – and it proved unbeatable in the heat and humidity of the typically tough APRC opener.

The PROTON Motorsports team is aware that the IRC represents tougher competition, with the cream of Super 2000 rally cars and drivers descending on the Spanish island, which lies just 100 kilometres off the coast of Africa. This second round of the IRC is a step into the unknown for the Satria Neo S2000, Basso and his PROTON team-mate, double Junior World Rally Champion Per-Gunnar (P-G) Andersson. The two drivers have not competed there before and will be faced with a demanding second round of the IRC.

The Las Palmas-based event is packed into a near non-stop 24 hours of rallying, with the day one stages running into the night, followed by an early start the next morning. The pace through the smooth, but undulating asphalt stages will be fast and furious on the island.

As well as this being Basso’s debut event with the team, it will also be Andersson’s first time in the car on a pure asphalt rally. The Swede’s pedigree on sealed surface is beyond doubt, however, after he finished seventh on his debut in a Ford Focus RS WRC on last year’s World Rally Championship-qualifying Bulgaria Rally. Andersson’s last rally outing was even more impressive – he led the WRC opening Rally Sweden in February. Both drivers will be searching for solid points finishes on IRC round two later this week.

P-G Andersson said:
“The team is really pleased with the way the car is working after the changes we have made, so I’m looking forward to the event. Again, it’s been a little while since I was competing, my last event was on the snow of Rally Sweden where I finished seventh. The snow at home is quite different to what we’re going out to this week, though. I’ve heard a little bit about the stages, not too much. I hear they are quite fast, but undulating, we’ll see what happens. I like driving on asphalt and I have good confidence that the team has worked hard to make the car as competitive as we all want it to be, certainly Chris [Atkinson’s] win in Malaysia last week seems like a big step in the right direction. As well as that, having somebody with Giandomenico Basso’s ability on asphalt is going to help the team. He knows plenty about how to make the car work on this surface, so if we can get near to his times then we’re going to be happy.”


Giandomenico Basso said:
“I have not competed on this round of the IRC before, but I do have good memories of the IRC in Spain – I won the Rallye Principe de Asturias in 2008. This is a new challenge for me. I had a good test with the PROTON at home in Italy earlier this year. Since then, the team have made some changes with the car and I’m really looking forward to trying them before the start of the event. It’s good to be out competing again in the IRC, it’s a very strong championship and this week’s second round will, I’m sure, be a tough challenge.”


Chris Mellors (team principal) said:
“Having seen the way the suspension changes improved the car on gravel, when we won last time out in Malaysia last month, we’re looking for a similar improvement with the car on asphalt. Due to time restrictions, we haven’t been able to run an extensive pre-event test, but both Giandomencio and P-G will get a full day tomorrow (Monday) to drive the car and establish their set-up for the event. As you can imagine, coming off the back of the result in the Asia-Pacific Rally Championship, the team is really upbeat, but at the same time we have to remember that we haven’t been to this event before and we haven’t run the car in this new configuration on asphalt either. This weekend is going to be a very interesting one for us, but we know what our expectations are: getting both cars to the finish in the points would provide us with some very valuable data.”
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VW to assess Emma Gilmour as part of WRC driver hunt

Nový příspěvekod PLuto » úte 30.08.2011 16:01

VW to assess Emma Gilmour as part of WRC driver hunt

The 29-year-old, a regular in her native domestic championship, has been in contact with the German firm and will test a Skoda Fabia S2000 ahead of a possible start on November's final round of the World Rally Championship. Volkswagen is using an S2000 Skoda programme to evaluate potential drivers for its 2013 WRC project.

Volkswagen motorsport director Kris Nissen said: "We are in contact with Emma. We would like to see her in a car for a test, but there is no date. We know her record. We are in this for the motorsport, the final aim is to win races, if Emma comes to us and shows she can do a good job in testing, we might put her in the race."

The vast majority of the 25 drivers who have spoken to Nissen about a drive with the WRC's newest team have been male and Nissen admitted VW was unlikely to become the first manufacturer since Audi ran Michele Mouton in the 1980s to offer a female driver a full factory seat at the highest level of rallying.

"We would be very happy to see other lady drivers, although, frankly speaking, I have the feeling for the moment a lot of young guys might show more potential than Emma," Nissen said.

He added that there was no guarantee a British driver would be tested on the Cardiff-based event. In the two rallies VW has run so far, it evaluated one Finn in Finland and a German driver in Germany.

"We are international," said Nissen. "The nationality of a driver is not the first issue, it's more about the quality."
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Sebastien Loeb says VW's attempts were tempting

Nový příspěvekod PLuto » úte 30.08.2011 16:05

Sebastien Loeb says VW's attempts to lure him from Citroen were tempting

Sebastien Loeb has admitted that a strong offer from Volkswagen made a decision on his future in the World Rally Championship difficult.

Loeb confirmed he would be staying with current employer Citroen - with whom he has won all seven of his world titles - for two further years last week.

The 37-year-old Frenchman said however that his decision has been made difficult following a meeting with Volkswagen's motorsport director Kris Nissen and the firm's advisor and double world champion Carlos Sainz to talk through a potential switch.

"When I spoke to Kris and Carlos, they were motivated," said Loeb. "They pushed hard and did a good job to try and get me.

"Then the decision was between the two manufacturers: Citroen and Volkswagen. The challenge to go to Volkswagen was also exciting, they were pushing quite hard that I come to join them.

"It was something new, a new challenge. It would have been a quiet year next year - I was quite interested."

In the end, Loeb remained at Citroen following the intervention of PSA Peugeot Citroen member of the management board Jean-Marc Gales.

Loeb added: "If you take everything in my mind for one year of competition [with VW], I would break the relationship with Citroen that I have been building for 10 years.

"Our image is really linked, Citroen and me. If it had been for more than one year, maybe it's something I could consider more - but for one year it's not the right choice to do."
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Wallenwein satisfied following Zlín IRC return

Nový příspěvekod PLuto » úte 30.08.2011 18:55

Wallenwein satisfied following Zlín IRC return

Mark Wallenwein said his return to the Intercontinental Rally Challenge on Barum Czech Rally Zlín last week was a hugely positive experience. The 24-year-old, who was tackling the testing Tarmac event for the first time, was classified in 18th position in his ŠKODA Auto Deutschland Fabia Super 2000, he shared with co-driver Stefan Kopczyk.

“On the first day we had quite some troubles on the stages, especially in the slippery parts,” said Wallenwein. “On the second day we did two quite good stage times, which makes me quite happy and shows we can improve. We were also in front of our team colleague [Matthias Kahle] at the finish so that’s quite okay.”

“Now we have some kilometres and I hope [the Canon Mecsek Rallye in] Hungary is going much better. I’m kind of fresh for Hungary, I feel comfortable in the car and we can try to push a little bit more.”
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