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Kia team re-unites to tackle Targa Newfoundland 2003

The diminutive Kia Rio RX-V that placed ahead of some much more powerful cars in the inaugural Targa Newfoundland international rally and the popular team that drove it will return to the 2003 Targa Newfoundland event, organizers have announced.

Bob English, columnist for Carguide magazine and motoring writer for The Globe & Mail Megawheels, and Newfoundland radio personality Ken Ash, of K-ROCK radio in St. John's, will be reunited for the September 13-21 automotive adventure with the goal of improving on their finish in last year's event.

English is pleased to be returning with the Kia. "Last year, Kia had the faith to provide the Rio. The car stood up remarkably well against the thrashing we gave it, and I have confidence in this little car. Now that we have some experience with this event, I think we can do even better."

Ash is quick to agree. "Looking back, I realize that I had no idea what I was getting into. I had a lot more to do in the car than I expected. But the car was fantastic and it helped make the Targa Newfoundland rally the most fun I've ever had in a week."

The Kia entry is an extension of the company's creed of "affordable fun" and an opportunity to display the enhanced 2003 Rio. The Rio RX-V was taken from a showroom floor last year and converted for rally use just weeks before the start of the competition. While a roll-cage and other competition equipment was added, no major performance modifications were made. The car will compete in the Modern class.

English remembers that Targa Newfoundland gave all participants a great feeling, regardless of what they were driving. "Motorsports can be a little high pressure, high tension," he says. "But meeting people at car shows each evening and then seeing the same people on the route the next day was amazing, and it makes it a lot more human. Targa brings the competition closer to people."

English still has a poster presented to him last year by students at a lunch stop at Beachy Cove Elementary School and he plans to get it framed. A spot on his wall has already been picked out.

The support of spectators made Ash proud to be a Newfoundlander. "I couldn't believe the response from the people. It was great how fellow Newfoundlanders were treating competitors from Australia and the United States," he says.

While they had a great time last year, English says there is some unfinished business to address. "Last year, Ken and I didn't win a Targa plate due to a minor mistake. This year, we will make the cut," he says.

The 2003 version of Targa Newfoundland will again be a six-day, 2,000-plus kilometre automobile adventure for the owners of great sporting cars from around the world. This year's event will start and finish in St. John's and run September 13 through September 21.

Patterned after the successful Targa Tasmania (Australia) and Targa New Zealand events, Targa Newfoundland was created to provide the owners of these pedigree machines the opportunity to drive them the way they were intended to be driven, safely and in the spirit of goodwill and good competition.

Targa Newfoundland is owned and organized by Newfoundland International Motorsports and is sanctioned by the Canadian Association of Rallysport (CARS). Targa Newfoundland 2003 is listed on the FIA calendar.



Media: Ruth Marks (709)753-0794 Doug Mepham (613)966-4969
Sponsors: Scott Giannou (709)576-7537
Competitors: Robert Giannou (709)722-2413
Website: www.targanewfoundland.com
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