•Strategic eighth in final round clinches title•Team Kibos and MML Sports FIA African Rally Champions and Kenyan national Rally Champions•First team and driver to win both series in history of sport•Jamie Anderson wins first BTRDA rally in UK - Woodpecker Stages
There was plenty to celebrate for MML Sports this weekend, as the UK-based automotive and motorsport specialists helped Team Kibos clinch the 2015 Kenyan national Rally Championship (KnRC) to go with the 2015 FIA African Rally Championship title secured last weekend. In addition, in the UK, Jamie Anderson took his first outright win in the 2015 BTRDA Rally Series, the UK's premier championship at the wheel of his MML Sports-Mitsubishi Lancer WRC.
Approaching the final round of the KnRC, the Nakuru Rally, MML Sports and Team Kibos knew that driver Jassi Chatthe only needed to finish within the top eight positions to clinch the title so this was the aim from the outset.
Like the last few rallies, Chatthe established a pace that meant he would avoid the myriad of problems and failures suffered by other competitors on the exceptionally difficult event. He reached the finish ramp in eighth place, having managed the gap to the closest competitor behind him to more than seven minutes while also setting three fastest stage times on the way.
The result means that MML Sports, Team Kibos and Chatthe add the 2015 Kenyan title to the 2015 FIA African title they won last weekend. In doing so they become the first driver and teams to win both series in the same year in the history of the sport in Africa.
While Chatthe and the team were celebrating in Kenya, there was more to be happy with in the UK. Jamie Anderson took his first win in the BTRDA series, and his second of the year, at the wheel of his Mitsubishi Lancer WRC.
A slow start by Anderson saw him 13th after the first stage but a huge fight-back saw him entering the final stage with a three-second deficit to the leader. However, he went through to take the stage win and with it, overall victory on the six-stage event, the seventh round of the nine-round series.
Commenting after the weekend, MML Sports Managing Director, John Easton, said; "Winning the KnRC this weekend is a perfect way to wrap up the two series in Africa. This was an incredibly difficult rally, as can be seen by the number of cars that didn't make the finish. But Jassi drove the perfect event and remained well in control of his pace and the eighth place that we needed to clinch the title.
"He actually finished the event in fifth place on the road but was given a five-minute penalty at the finish for leaving a punctured wheel at the end of stage 7 instead of putting it back in the car.
"Once again, we just had to fuel and change tyres on the car, indicating that the combination of our car and Jassi's driving is the dominant force in African rallying this season. I am delighted with Jassi's performances throughout the year; he has pushed as hard as he could when necessary and delivered the goods in that situation. He has also been able to adopt a more conservative pace with a title in mind - a very difficult situation to be in for a driver - and excel in those conditions as well.
"The car has been superb, as have the MML Sports technicians who built and run both the cars, in the African and the Kenyan series. There were many doubters at the start of the year, that an R4-specification car would not be able to sustain the punishment these rallies put up but not only did it do that but it also proved to be at the front of the field on outright pace.
"It is still a real shame that this specification of car can't be used in FIA-sanction events in Europe as we have proved that it is both competitive and reliable. But it is clearly a viable option for FIA regional and national series and I look forward to returning to Africa next year with Team Kibos to help defend both titles, as well as progress some of the interest this season has generated.
"I am also very pleased for Jamie to have won his first BTRDA rally outright. He won his first rally this year, a precursor to the BTRDA campaign and he has demonstrated the same principles that Jassi did in Africa - the World Rally Car is both competitive and reliable and as we know, is an easy car to drive fast in national series."