Leading Tyre manufacturer Kumho will use its involvement as the control tyre supplier to the 2010 Australian Rally Championship as a major engineering and development program for its future road tyres.

Kumho won the right to supply control tyres to the Australian Rally Championship this year ensuring a level playing field as well as reducing costs and boosting support for the sport from the grass roots to the national championship.

Kumho Tyres will also announce a significant encouragement award for premier class ARC competitors to be known as the Kumho Future Champions Award, which will reward not only the driver but the team with potential to be a future Australian Rally Champion.

The Australian Rally Championship is one of the oldest and toughest in the world and will be used by Kumho as a valuable tyre development program with knowledge gained in the heat of rally competition being used to engineer better passenger car tyres for the future.

ARC competitors have already tested the new control tyres and have been impressed by the three different tyres that will be used in the championship this year praising the high levels of grip, the predictable nature of the tyres and their durability.

Pre season tests were carried out in extreme temperatures during a recent heat wave in Melbourne and despite this the tyres held up well promising good endurance for competitors in this year's ARC.

According to Kumho Tyre Australia motorsport coordinator, John Mills, the testing proved the choice of tyres and compounds chosen in consultation with the ARC was correct with a range to suit a wide selection of cars and that Kumho will prove a strong choice for the sport in 2010.

"The drivers who tested were very impressed with the performance of the various tyres and offered some valuable feedback to our engineers which is one of the reasons Kumho is involved with the ARC as control tyre supplier," said John Mills.

"Kumho's involvement will make the sport of rallying more cost effective for competitors reducing their tyre expenditure significantly. Saving ARC teams close to $2000 per rally or around $12,000 across the six round championship," he added.

"It will help many top state championship level drivers to consider the move up to the national level knowing that everyone is on an even playing field using the same tyres at a cost effective price," John Mills added.

The tyres will be available in a wide range of sizes from 13" all the way up to the 205/65 x 15 at cost effective prices. For example the 205/65R15 tyre will cost any rally competitor from club events to the ARC $231 each.

"Kumho is putting its backing into the Australian Rally Championship as a whole and rumours that the company is providing support for individual drivers or teams is totally incorrect," Mills said.

"With the reduction in the cost of tyres, the encouragement awards and the significant rights fees going to the sport, Kumho's commitment to rallying is by far the largest commercial commitment to the sport this year," Mills added.

John Mills says the drivers who tested said the Kumho control tyres showed excellent performance characteristics across the two separate tests in forests close to the Victorian capital.

"They all said that they could set the car up and hold its line and that it provides very good grip out of corners," he added.

Competitors in the Australian Rally Championship will have a choice between three different types of tyre, the Kumho R900 for hard packed gravel, the R800 which is an asymmetrical design and aimed at loose gravel and the R700 which is a wet weather tyre designed for muddy conditions.

Kumho has also contributed financial support to rallying which will help regrow the sport and build a stronger competition into the future.

The Australian Rally Championship kicks off on February 26-28 with the opening round the Rally Tasmania based in Burnie on the North West coast of the Apple Isle, before moving on to five more rounds across every mainland state.
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