BOWMANVILLE, Ontario, June 23, 2012 /PRNewswire/ -- The Kia Optima has been referred to as the most gorgeous car under $20,000. Now, it can be known by another name: race winner. Michael Galati drove his No. 36 Infinity Audio Optima to victory in round eight of the Pirelli World Challenge Championships at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park (CTMP), scoring the first racing win for the turbocharged Optima in Kia Racing's rookie season in the series. Adding to the excitement for the fastest growing car brand in the U.S., Galati's teammate Mark Wilkins, who lives in nearby Aurora, Ontario, created his own highlight reel, racing side-by-side with Toronto's Aaron Povoledo lap after lap around the high-speed circuit until he finally secured second place as the checkered flag waved.
"It's fantastic to be able to score the first World Challenge win for Kia," said Galati, who lists CTMP as his favorite race track. "The guys at Kinetic Motorsports spent their Christmas vacations in the shop to get these cars built in time for the racing season, and the Optimas have been getting better and better with each race weekend. Now, the whole team is getting a late Christmas present – and I'm thrilled to be able to give it to them."
Galati started the race on pole, dropped back to third at the start then fought his way back past a Porsche Cayman and a Ford Mustang to retake the lead and held on through a pair of caution periods and restarts to take the win. The victory moves him up to fourth in the driver's championship points race.
Wilkins, meanwhile, started second but fell to fifth at the start before clawing his way forward. After an extended caution period for a GT car that caught fire on course, the green flag waved again with just over 10 minutes left in the race, and the battle between Wilkins' No. 38 Infinity Audio Optima and the No. 26 Mustang of Povoledo was on. The two hometown boys fought tooth and nail lap after lap, driving side-by-side through high-speed corners, inches apart but never touching. Finally, Wilkins made his pass stick, taking Povoledo on the outside of CTMP's super-fast turn eight and then closing up with teammate Galati for a picture-perfect one-two finish for Kia Racing.
"What an amazing battle, and what an amazing honor to be part of Kia's first one-two finish in World Challenge," said Wilkins. "Aaron did a great job and raced me really clean, but it was pretty intense. I finally out-braked him going into turn eight, but if we didn't get by at that point, I could have ended up fourth because there was another Mustang stalking me the whole time. I want to offer a special thanks to Kia Motors and Kinetic Motorsports – and a big congratulations to my teammate, Michael."
Round nine of the Pirelli World Challenge is scheduled for Sunday, June 24, beginning at 2:30 p.m. ET. Check out live race status, photos and updates at www.facebook.com/kiaracing, and watch live streaming race coverage at world-challengetv.com. Race fans can also tune in for television coverage on the NBC Sports Network Saturday, July 7 at 5 p.m. ET. (Time and date subject to change. Check local listings).
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.
SOURCE Kia Motors America