IRVINE, Calif., June 2, 2011 /PRNewswire/ -- On the heels of a fifth-straight top-10 finish at Lime Rock Park last weekend, Kia Racing returns to the action this week for the Continental Tire 150 at Watkins Glen International with a renewed focus on a podium finish and climbing to the top of the ST class engine manufacturer standings. The Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koups begin the second half of the season in a strong position, currently in second place in the ST class team standings and just six points off the lead in the ST engine manufacturer standings. Nic Jonsson enters Watkins Glen in third place in the ST driver standings, just six points behind the leader.
Kia Motors America's (KMA) second-year racing program – in partnership with Kinetic Motorsports – has high hopes for the remainder of the CTSCC schedule, building on the solid foundation laid by strong performances during the first half of the season. Kia Racing hopes to leverage the No. 10 and No. 12 Forte Koups' outstanding braking and handling characteristics at the highly technical 3.4-mile, 11-turn road course at Watkins Glen for a chance to secure its third podium finish of the 2011 season.
"Kia's fast-maturing racing program has proven that it's a force to be reckoned over the course of the season's first five events, and we hope to kick off the second half in victorious fashion at the Continental Tire 150 later this week," said Michael Sprague, vice president of marketing & communications, KMA. "Following our fifth-consecutive top-10 finish at Lime Rock Park last weekend, the Kia Racing team is focused on finishing out the 2011 CTSCC season with more podium finishes and enough points to take us to the top of the engine manufacturer standings. The Infinity Audio Forte Koups' outstanding handling and braking capabilities should match up well with the road course at Watkins Glen and gives us a shot at our third podium finish."
The Continental Tire 150 will be broadcast on Sunday, June 12 at 5:00 p.m. ET on the SPEED Channel. Race fans can follow Kia's motorsports program and receive live updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing.
Memorial Day Classic Race Recap
With the 2011 season reaching its midway point, the No. 10 and 12 Infinity Audio Kia Forte Koups arrived at Lime Rock Park with their sights set on the top spot in the Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge's (CTSCC) engine manufacturer standings in the Street Tuner (ST) class (Kia entered the May 28th race ranked second behind Volkswagen). Coming off a challenging race at VIR two weeks earlier, the team was eager to compete at Lime Rock Park where the track's technical nature complemented the Forte Koup's outstanding braking and handling characteristics during the 2010 race.
After matching the No. 12 car's best-ever qualifying position of fifth on Friday, Trevor Hopwood started behind the wheel for team "Burhop" in the No. 12 car, fending off competitors early on to maintain a top five position for the first 25 laps of the race. With a smaller ST-only crowd and solid driving, racing was fierce with only minor spin outs, keeping the course under a green flag for the first part of the race. With 26 laps down, a wheel bearing issue caused the No. 12 car to spin and back into the wall causing damage and forcing Hopwood to pit. A broken front axle – a result of the wheel bearing issue – caused the No. 12 car to remain in pit row for more than 20 minutes and dropped the team back to 31st place overall. Adam Burrows took over after the extended pit stop but recurring brake issues ultimately forced the No. 12 car out of the race with more than an hour remaining.
Meanwhile, the No. 10 car started the race in 10th position with Michael Galati behind the wheel, where he started strong and moved up two places within the first few laps of the race. Methodically, Galati moved his way up the grid to fifth place, just behind the No. 12 car early on. At just over an hour into the event, an aggressive driving penalty levied against another team coupled with a skilled move by Galati around the second place car moved the No. 10 Forte Koup into first place for the first time during the race.
A lightning quick pit stop with approximately 90 minutes remaining kept the No. 10 car in the hunt for a podium finish by dropping only nine spots while still under yellow. With Jonsson behind-the-wheel, the No. 10 car powered up the grid moving from 10th place to seventh with a little more than 20 minutes remaining.
Despite a fierce battle, the No. 10 car finished in fifth and gained one point in the ST engine manufacturer standings.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) 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 730 dealers throughout the United States and serves as the "Official Automotive Partner of the NBA." In 2010, KMA recorded its best-ever U.S. sales and 16th consecutive year of increased U.S. market share. Kia is poised to continue its momentum and will continue to build the brand through design innovation, quality, value, safety features and new technologies.
SOURCE Kia Motors America