LAKEVILLE, Conn., Sept. 28, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Racing arrived at Lime Rock Park for the tenth and final round of the Grand-Am Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) with the goal of clinching its second-straight Street Tuner (ST) Driver and Team Championships, sitting third in the standings, just 12 points behind the leader and well within striking distance. Driver Mathew Pombo started the No. 10 DonorsChoose.org/Infinity Audio Forte Koup third amidst 33-car field in a torrential downpour, but it was co-driver Andy Lally who stole the show, chasing down championship rival Pierre Kleinubing in the closing laps of the two-and-a-half hour race and narrowly missing a race win that would have clinched the championship.
"The Kinetic crew gave us an awesome car today, and we were confident about bringing home another championship for Kia," said Lally, a former NASCAR rookie of the year and the most decorated driver in the Grand-Am paddock. "It was a challenging race with the weather conditions, but we kept out of trouble and were around at the end to run for the win. With a lap or two more, I bet we would have got 'em. It's tough to come that close and not quite make it, but we are happy with the success we had all year. The Kia Racing team ranks among the best in the sport, and it's great to be a part of such a professionally run program."
With the championship within his sights, Lally closed a three-second gap in the final seven minutes of the race, posting two of the fastest laps of the day in the process. All eyes were on Lally's Kia and the first-place car of Kleinubing as they lapped within inches of each other and nearly touched several times. In the end, however, Lally crossed line second, to claim third in the ST driver and team championships.
"It's been a great year for Kia Racing. We're very proud of our crew and the hard work they have done all year to prepare these cars," said Russell Smith, co-owner, Kinetic Motorsports, who qualified his own Kia Rio in fourth place for Saturday's Total Performance Showcase race. "Today, Andy put on one of the best driving performances I have ever seen. Even though we came up a bit short, we are feeling very good about our chances next year and hungry to get Kia another championship."
Lally's second place at Lime Rock marked the successful conclusion to Kia's third year in motorsports. In addition to finishing third in the CTSCC championship, the brand enjoyed an outstanding rookie season in the Pirelli World Challenge, where a pair of turbocharged Optimas captured two wins and six podium finishes. Lastly, the Kia Rio 5-door earned its competition stripes in the new "B-Spec" grassroots racing category with a couple wins this season as well.
The Championship Weekend at Lime Rock Park will be televised on SPEED on Saturday, October 13 at 2:00 p.m. ET. (Time and date subject to change. Check local listings). In the mean time, Kia Racing fans can check out live race status, photos and updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles through more than 755 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA. In 2011, KMA recorded its best-ever annual sales total and became one of the fastest growing car companies in the U.S. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, advanced safety features and new technologies.
 Based on 5-year cumulative growth between 12-month retail sales for periods ending August 2007 and August 2012 of all U.S. automotive brands.
SOURCE Kia Racing