Kia Sportage Takes the 6th Place
- Kia Sportage takes the 6th place in the diesel-engined modified production vehicle category (T 3.3) in the Paris- Dakar Rally
- “Kia Sportage opens up a new future for the national motor sports,” say pundits
Driving in the 23rd Paris-Dakar Rally, a Kia Sportage completed the 6,658-mile (10,715 kms) race and reached Dakar, the capital city of Senegal, Africa at 1pm on January 21.
The Sportage drove 3 stages within a group of top ten participants and ranked 6th place overall in the completely modified vehicle category T 3.3 while less than half, or only 53 cars out of 113 made it to the finish line.
The Paris- Dakar Rally was a race of unparalleled challenges. Just 3 out of 8 Mercedes reached the destination and none from renowned carmakers such as BMW, Suzuki, and Peugeot completed the race. As much as 16 vehicles dropped out on the 12th day of the rally and only 16 out of total 42 Toyota cars successfully crossed the finish line, recording less than 40 percent of completion rate.
It was a little victory that the Sportage has accomplished in the so-called ‘Death Rally’ where people willfully recognize the superiority of the car just by completing it. Sportage No. 2 especially boasted its efficiency by maintaining its record close to 10th rank since day 17, 16th racing course. Even veteran drivers with more than 10 years of racing experiences were surprised at the Sportage suddenly pushing out from the back. Hosting broadcasting company, France 2,3 TV relayed the performance of the Sportage through direct interviews.
“I was once again impressed by the efficiency of the Sportage and I would like to thank Kia Motors Company for endless support it provided us. Thanks to Kia, it only took us two years in the race to obtain the result, which, on the other hand, took other car makers such as Mitsubishi and Nissan a period of 10 years,” said Curt LeDuc who crossed the European terrain and the Sahara driving the Sportage.
Including officials from motor companies, over 30.000 spectators gathered at the final destination and also a noted place in Dakar “Lac Rose” and greeted the successful participants. Ambassador Kim Dae-Seung as well as officials of the Korean embassy in Dakar joined about 40 Korean residents waving the national flag and welcomed the Kia Sportage, which have come a long way to the finish line.