- Kia Rio powers to nine race wins in 2005 Andros trophy series
- Team Kia driver Yvan Muller claims consecutive championship
- Kia wins constructors championship for the first time
(SEOUL) February 14, 2005 -- For the second year in a row, a Team Kia driver has won the spectacular Andros Trophy ice racing championship in France, while Kia claimed the constructors’ championship for the first time, with nine wins out of 12 races. Yvan Muller’s successful partnership with Kia began last year when he piloted the single Kia Rio entry to victory in the 2004 Andros Trophy. The double victory for the Kia team, both drivers’ and constructors’ championships in 2005, once again confirms the strength of this partnership.
Driving a specially built, V6-powered, four-wheel-drive Kia Rio, Team Kia driver Muller established a commanding and unbeatable lead in the title fight this year. Muller scored one more win for the Kia team during the series-ending weekend of dramatic action to boost his final tally to 786 points, well ahead of J-P Dayraut (Stilo)’s 739 points and Alain Prost (Corolla)’s 730 points. It was Muller’s ninth title-winning season in the annual Andros Trophy ice racing series.
A seven-time race winner in this year’s Andros Trophy series, Muller topped the points table by such a comfortable margin that he clinched the championship for Kia with two events of the 12-race series still to run. The 35-year old Frenchman beat a horde of entries from Toyota, Alfa Romeo, Citroen, Fiat and Seat.
The 4x4 Kia Rio is a purpose-built ice racer that rivals the Elite class of the World Ice Racing Championships. Weighing just 950kg, it features four-wheel-drive and four-wheel-steering and is powered by a highly tuned, mid-mounted 360 ps (265 kW) 3.0-litre V6 engine. Kia France ran a two car team with a squad of four drivers including Muller (seven wins), team manager Paul Bourion (one win), Evens Stievenart (one win), and Wilfried Merafina.
The hugely popular Andros Trophy was contested by a host of motor sport stars including multiple F1 World Champion Alain Prost, ex-F3 champion and F1 racer Franck Lagorce and SuperTouring ace J-Philippe Dayraut.
A season-ending, non-championship Grand Final will take place at an all-new ice circuit at St Die des Vosges on March 13, 2005.
Kia Motors Corporation (www.kiamotors.com) -- the fastest growing automaker in the world -- was founded in 1944 and is Korea’s oldest manufacturer of motor vehicles. As part of the Hyundai-Kia Automotive Group, Kia aims to become one of the world’s premier automotive brands. Kia’s 16 manufacturing and assembly operations in 13 countries produce more than 1.1 million vehicles a year that are sold and serviced through a network of distributors and dealers covering 190 countries. Kia today has 30,000 employees and annual revenues of $14 billion. It is the major sponsor of the Australian Tennis Open and an official worldwide sponsor of the Davis Cup. Kia Motors Corporation’s brand slogan -- “The Power to Surprise” -- represents the company’s global commitment to surpassing customer expectations through continuous automotive innovation.