ST. JOHN’S (September 9, 2013) – Buoyed by its success last year, Kia Canada Inc. will send a pair of potent Kia models to Targa Newfoundland 2013 with two experienced drivers and some enhancements designed to ensure the cars are top contenders in Canada’s longest and toughest motorsport event.
The two cars, a Kia Forte Koup and Kia Optima Turbo sedan, return to Targa with revisions to suspensions, brakes and other systems that will help ensure they stay at the sharp end of the competitive Modern Division where they captured two of the top five spots last year. In 2012, the cars achieved great finishes (4th and 5th place) despite running in virtually stock condition.
“Last year, the cars were about as stock as possible,” recalls Jim Kenzie, who gave the Optima Turbo its competition debut in Canada. “Ours even had its back-up camera installed. And the satellite radio was great on those long transits!”
But driver and Targa co-founder Kenzie, with co-driver Brian Bourbonnierre, may have fewer creature comforts and more performance to work with this year. “We had the car at Mosport (Canadian Tire Motorsport Park) to give charity rides, and I am really impressed with the brakes,” says Kenzie, a former winner in the tough Open Division.
With the new brakes, “I’ll be much more confident this year, and we can push harder,” says Kenzie, who has taken part in every Targa Newfoundland since the first event in 2002.
The Forte Koup will be back in the hands of Jacques Deshaies, who returns to Targa for the third time in a car that has proven both reliable and quick. The attractive Koup has also undergone an update that should put Deshaies and new co-driver Guy McKenzie into the thick of the Modern Division battle.
“I’m a better driver now – better on the race track, better on the road – thanks to my Targa experience,” says Deshaies, who has a gold Targa plate (awarded for three consecutive years of top performance) in his sites.
“I love the event: I love the roads, I love the people of Newfoundland, I love the competition and the passionate people who compete in Targa,” Deshaies confesses. “Targa is like a second Christmas for me.”
The Forte Koup will carry the important Mothers Against Drunk Drivers (MADD) message, extending Kia’s commitment to safe driving through its website www.MapOfHope.ca <http://www.MapOfHope.ca> which urges Canadians to drive sober.
Kenzie and Deshaies are automobile journalists and will chronicle their adventures for their readers in English on www.wheels.ca <http://www.wheels.ca> (Kenzie) and in French on www.autonet.ca <http://www.autonet.ca> (Deshaies).
Kia Canada has been a stalwart supporter of Targa since the first event. “Kia entered the very first Targa Newfoundland in 2002 and has been a tremendous supporter ever since,” explains Targa organizer Robert Giannou. “The cars are always popular with the fans, the drivers have put on a terrific show and Kia has made friends all across Newfoundland. We are delighted they’re with us.”
In the decade since the first Targa Newfoundland, manufacturers have entered a total of 18 different auto brands in the annual September classic. The cars have been driven by professional race drivers, talented amateurs, corporate executives and even journalists. No single Canadian motorsport event has had more involvement from Canada’s auto industry.
Says Targa organizer Robert Giannou: “There is something undeniably appealing about real cars on real roads in real conditions. Carmakers understand that when their products measure up at Targa, it is a real achievement worth boasting about.”
Owned and operated by Newfoundland International Motorsports Limited, Targa Newfoundland is one of three internationally recognized Targa motorsports events in the world. The 2013 competition starts in St. John’s on September 14 and concludes back in the capital on September 21. The 12th annual rally will cover more than 2,000 kilometres of the challenging, twisty roads of the central and eastern portion of Newfoundland, including up to 450 kilometres of closed-road, flat-out Targa stages.
Media: Doug Mepham 613 966 4969 or 905 325 3431 email@example.com
Competitors: Darren Sheppard 1 877 332 2413 firstname.lastname@example.org
Website: www.targanewfoundland.com <http://www.targanewfoundland.com>
From: Doug Mepham
MacDonald & Co.
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