The 2013 rally season is still young, but Kumho is already making its mark on the UK championships. For example, Alex Allingham's ex-Prodrive Subaru Impreza N10 that took outright honours on March 3's Rally Marketing Mid-Wales Stages event, did so courtesy of Kumho gravel tyres.
The rally was the first occasion on which Stalybridge-based Allingham and his co-driver Chris Williams had competed together, and their priorities were to finish the event and get used to operating alongside each other – actually winning the four-stage rally had therefore never entered their heads, never mind by so substantial a margin as 58.9 seconds. During his victory speech Allingham said: "I'd like to thank Kumho for supplying tyres that have worked brilliantly in the cool and dry conditions we've faced today."
Having won what was the second round of the Pirelli MSA Welsh National Rally Championship, the new team are now readying themselves to tackle the next qualifying event, Rally North Wales, which takes place in and around Welshpool over the weekend of April 5/6.
Historic runners also succeed on Kumho products
The March 3 event served as the first round of the West Wales Spares RAC Rally Championship for historic cars too, in which Kumho runners again enjoyed success. Most notable was the MKII Escort pairing of Marty McCormack and Phil Clarke, who had proved their competitiveness as recently as last November by winning the Roger Albert Clark Rally outright. On this occasion they eventually had to give best to the similarly mounted duo of Nick Elliott and Dave Price, but only after a battle royale that persisted throughout all five stages.
Yet another crew making the most of their Kumho tyres were the young Welsh ace Dylan Davies and his co-driver Llion Williams, who guided their MKI Escort home to a fine class victory.
Commenting on the impressive results, Kumho's European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson said: "There's no guarantee that the success of one season will carry into the next, so it's always rewarding to see our tyres chalking up some early wins. It's also good to welcome some new talent to the Kumho fold. I look forward to what we hope will be another great year of motorsport for our brand."
Kumho has announced that it is the exclusive tyre supplier for the fastest MINI model to date – the recently‑launched, limited‑edition John Cooper Works GP.
Each of these 218hp pocket rockets will be shod with Kumho's road‑legal, semi‑slick ECSTA V70A tyres, in a new 215/40 ZR17 83W size especially developed in conjunction with BMW for fitment to the new MINI GP.
The all‑important tyre performance was fine‑tuned during exhaustive tests on the incomparable Nürburgring's Nordschleife circuit, which the newcomer ultimately lapped in 8 minutes 23 seconds – a full 19 seconds quicker than the original MINI Cooper S with John Cooper Works GP Kit launched back in 2006.
This latest mighty MINI was originally unveiled during the MINI United 2012 event, held at the French race circuit Le Castellet last May.
The V70A, long favoured by motorsport competitors, is readily available in many sizes from 13 to 18 inches and in four different compounds – supersoft, soft, medium and hard.
Most drivers know that snow and ice can dramatically affect their safety on the road. Steering, acceleration and braking are more difficult as normal tyres have less grip in these conditions. However, it is not just these extreme wintry conditions which can reduce your safety on the road. Even cold, damp roads can dramatically affect the performance of tyres, leading to an increased accident risk.
Thankfully though, tyre manufacturers have developed a range of winter weather tyres which are specifically designed to operate in these conditions, delivering improved safety throughout the entire winter period.
While snow and ice present the most obvious hazard to motorists, most drivers change their driving style to suit these conditions.
However, cold, damp roads are visually no different to wet conditions in the warmer months and drivers tend not to adjust their driving style. A tyre's performance though, is significantly reduced by this combination of conditions, making cold damp roads one of the highest safety risks to drivers.
Air temperature is a crucial factor in a tyre's ability to perform. When the temperature drops below 7°C, the tread compound in normal tyres begins to harden, providing less grip. The tread compound in winter weather tyres contains more natural rubber and advanced silica compounds to minimise the hardening effect, giving extra grip and shorter stopping distances in cold, damp conditions. Together with sophisticated multi-sipe tread patterns, the combination is one that no summer tyre can match, making winter weather tyres the safest option from October through to March, when temperatures rarely rise above 7°C. This especially applies to commuters and business motorists who are on the roads in coldest conditions in the early morning and evening.
Tests conducted by the British Tyre Manufacturers' Association found that a car braking at 60mph on a wet road at 5°C stopped five metres shorter, equivalent to more than one car length, when fitted with winter weather tyres.
Checks for all
All drivers, irrespective of whether they fit winter weather tyres or not, should carry out regular checks throughout the winter to ensure their tyres are in the best possible condition for maximum safety.
In winter tread depth should be checked to ensure it is well above the legal minimum of 1.6mm across the central 3/4 of the tyre, around its entire circumference. TyreSafe has developed the 20p test for a simple and quick way to test your tyres' tread depth.
Tyre pressures should be checked at least once a month or before a long journey. Pressures should be checked when the tyres are cold (i.e. travelled less than 2 miles) against the vehicle manufacturers recommended levels.
When checking your tyre pressures, give the rest of the tyre a thorough visual inspection for any signs of damage. Look for any cuts, cracks bulges and remove any embedded objects.
Kumho Tyre UK is to appoint a new Sales Director for the UK and Ireland, following the departure of Matt Smith who has most ably filled that role for the last seven years. Members of senior management will take over his responsibilities until a successor is in place.
Said the company's Managing Director, K M Choe: "We are obviously sorry to lose Matt, who has achieved much for us during his time at Kumho. However, we fully respect his decision to move on. I should like to thank him for his loyal service and wish him all the very best for his future career."
Kumho-sponsored GB Taekwondo team kick their way to record gold and bronze at London 2012
Already regarded as one of the world's top Taekwondo nations, Britain excelled itself at London 2012 with a gold medal for the diminutive Welsh teenager Jade Jones, and a bronze for Lutalo Muhammad – by far the country's best overall performance since Taekwondo first joined the Olympic schedule in 2000.
The 19 year-old Jones' achievement made her Britain's first ever Olympic Taekwondo champion: she was also the youngest of all Team GB's 29 gold medallists. Such success certainly assured the 'Head Hunter' of a rapturous welcome in her home town of Flint, where not only has her local post box been painted gold, but the butcher's shop where her mother works is celebrating with the production of special 'Olympic' sausages.
The bronze medal secured by the unassuming 'Walthamstow Warrior' Muhammad was Britain's first ever Olympic gong in the men's weight divisions. It was a sterling result for the 21 year-old Londoner who had to fight off a quarter-final defeat and through two repechage events to earn his place on the podium.
Kumho Tyre UK's official partnership with GB Taekwondo was cemented in time to boost the team's final preparations for 2012 and the company is naturally thrilled with the outcome. Said Kumho's Marketing Director John Thrupp: "It is an honour to be associated with such international sporting success. The relationship was a natural one bearing in mind Kumho is a Korean company and taekwondo is the national sport of South Korea. However, we didn't expect such meteoric results so soon. The team's unforgettable performance was a superb advert for their sport and will no doubt encourage many additions to the 100,000 already practising the popular martial art in this country.
"Like GB Taekwondo, we pride ourselves on the performance of our products and now very much look forward to supporting their participation in the 2012 British Taekwondo National Championships, which take place at the Manchester Velodrome on September 8/9."
In doing so, leading global tyre manufacturer Kumho has provided a welcome boost to the team as it begins its final preparations for London 2012. Fresh from its best ever medal haul at the European Championships in May, GB Taekwondo is ranked as one of Britain's best medal hopes for the impending Olympic Games. The marriage is a natural one too, with Kumho Tyres being part of the giant Seoul-based Kumho Asiana Group, and the team being one of the world's leading exponents of Taekwondo, the national sport of South Korea.
Said Kumho Tyre UK's Managing Director Kie Myung Choe: "We are extremely excited to be involved with these fine athletes and very much look forward to assisting their endeavours at London 2012 and beyond. We are naturally very proud to have achieved this link with a sport that is so close to Korean hearts, and is now thought to have some 70 million exponents around the world. We are also deeply impressed by GB Taekwondo's series of national initiatives that's aimed at identifying talented young people and helping them to reach their full potential."
Gary Hall, Performance Director at GB Taekwondo said: "We are delighted to agree a partnership with Kumho Tyres as we make our final preparations for the Games this summer. The backing of such a strong global brand will not only help us put the finishing touches to our 2012 planning, but support our aims for the wider development of the sport in the UK.
"We share a common goal in seeking maximum performance and there are some fantastic opportunities to achieve this with Kumho Tyres in both the short and long term."
Taekwondo, that loosely translates to 'the way of the hand and the foot', first became an Olympic sport in 2000 and Great Britain is now regarded as one of the world's top Taekwondo nations, with some 600 clubs supporting 100,000 practitioners. No less than 17 British athletes comprise the 'World Class Performance Programme'. They are drawn from all over the country and are trained at the sport's national headquarters in Manchester.
The Olympic Taekwondo competition runs from August 8 to 11.
For the last four years, competitors in the MSA British Historic Rally Championship have run on control tyres. However, following requests for change, they will next year be able to choose from the products of four different manufacturers, not least Kumho Tyres.
Welcoming the news, the company's European Motorsport Manager Steve Thompson said: "We developed a range of gravel and asphalt products especially for this series, which proved very popular prior to the advent of single-make control tyres, so we are delighted at the change of regulation and confident of a positive response from the teams."
Kumho has enjoyed ever-increasing success in the rally world and, for example, has been the tyre supplier for all five of Eugene Donnelly's Irish Tarmac Rally Championship victories and last year's win in the French Gravel Rally Championship by two-times European Rally Champion Simon Jean-Joseph.
Added Steve Thompson: "Much as we enjoy modern rallying, the older cars bring their own set of challenges; ones we are equally adept at meeting. We very much look forward to being an integral part of next year's historic scene."