KUMHO DRIVERS NOW LEAD TWO CLASSES OF THE INTERCONTINENTAL RALLY CHALLENGE FOLLOWING MAJOR SUCCESS ON THE CIRCUIT OF IRELAND
Following exceptional results on the Donnelly Group Circuit of Ireland Rally (April 6-7), Kumho drivers are currently leading not one but two classes of the Intercontinental Rally Challenge (IRC); not to mention the Group N class of the Irish Tarmac Championship and the Irish Forestry Series.
Following a fine victory on the Galway Rally, team Jennings had fully overhauled their Kumho-shod Mitsubishi Lancer Evo IX, allowing driver Garry Jennings to show top form from the outset – he finished 5th overall on the first stage and ahead of eventual outright winner Juho Hänninen at the wheel of a works Skoda 2000. By the end of the two day event he had annexed victory in the Production Cup class of the IRC, of which he now has joint leadership. And by finishing 8th overall he has further extended his lead in the GPN category of the Irish Tarmac Championship – a position he holds in addition to the overall lead of the Forestry Series.
Said an understandably delighted Jennings: “It’s been an amazing event. The Kumho tyres really worked incredibly well here and I think we have succeeded in showcasing their quality to the IRC regulars, who probably aren’t as familiar with the Korean brand as we are.”
Unlike Jennings, the 2011 British F2 and Junior Rally Champion Marty McCormack was competing on Kumho rally tyres for the first time, and very good use he made of them too, even though the event ran anything but smoothly for him. Driving a Citroen DS3, he bent the rear suspension on a misjudged corner and, with co-driver David Moynihan, spent much time under the car with between stages realigning the rear hubs. He also suffered worsening gear selection problems, to the point where the box had to be changed at the final service. Despite this catalogue of woes, he managed to win the 2WD Cup and thereby assume the joint class lead in the IRC series. He was also presented with the ‘Colin McRae Flat Out Trophy’ in recognition of the way he triumphed over the problems he’d faced – the award was presented by Colin’s father Jimmy, a multiple winner of the Circuit of Ireland Rally. Thrilled with his result, McCormack said of his Kumho tyres: “They looked like a promising option in testing and definitely delivered in the rally itself.”
Last, but by no means least, was regular Kumho runner, five-times Irish Tarmac Champion Eugene Donnelly, who had dusted down his Toyota Corolla WRC in order to contest the National element of the event, in which he finished 2nd overall.
Commenting on a most memorable event for Kumho, its European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson said: “We’ve achieved some great results in rallying over the last few years, but this beats our previous record at this level of the sport. As Garry Jennings pointed out, not only are the placings themselves extremely valuable for the brand, but they have exposed a host of talented international competitors to the quality and performance of the Kumho product. We couldn’t have hoped for a more encouraging start to the season.”