IRVINE, Calif., April 28, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- Kia Racing scored back-to-back podium finishes – including its second win of the 2014 season – in rounds three and four of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Mark Wilkins piloted the No. 38 B.R.A.K.E.S. Optima turbo to victory on Saturday in round three and currently leads the Grand Touring Sport (GTS) Driver Championship points. Teammate Nic Jonsson, in the No. 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima turbo, followed that performance on Sunday with a second-place finish in round four, moving him into second place in the driver standings behind Wilkins. The team's outstanding results at Barber moves Kia into first place in the Manufacturer Championship standings ahead of Porsche, Ford and Chevy.
"We had a podium-finishing car all day, but at the restart late in the race an opportunity opened up for me to make a move for the lead, so I took it and didn't look back," said Wilkins, who recorded his first victory of the 2014 PWC campaign. "It's a great win for Kia as Barber Motorsports Park really represents the Optima's home track since the cars are actually built at Kia's U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, just a short distance away."
Jonsson's second-place finish on Sunday came in dramatic fashion as he held off two hard-charging Chevy Camaros to the checkered flag.
"We had a fast car, but the finish was a bit more dramatic than I would have preferred. We just ran out of front tire late in the race with the hot track, and I couldn't get the car to turn very well. Thankfully, we had enough to keep the Camaros behind us and hold onto second place," said Jonsson, who returned to the podium after capturing victory at Long Beach, Calif., two weeks ago in round two. "I'm happy with the result. It makes for a good day in the points for Mark (Wilkins) and I, as well as Kia in the Manufacturer Championship."
With three podiums – including two wins – in the first four rounds of the 2014 PWC season, Kia carries the Manufacturer and Driver Championship points leads into rounds five and six in Detroit, Mich., May 30 – June 1. The team is optimistic, having won at Detroit last year, and looks to duplicate that performance in the Motor City again.
In addition to the Kia Racing Optimas, two new racing Kias also made their competition debut at Barber this weekend. Kia Motors America partner Kinetic Motorsports fielded two all-new turbocharged Forte Koups in the Touring Car A (TC-A) class, one piloted by rookie Jason Wolfe and one by Kinetic owner Russell Smith, and Wolfe secured his first podium finish of the year in the No. 36 Richard Wolfe Trucking Kinetic Motorsports entry with a third-place result on Saturday.
Televised coverage of Barber Motorsports Park will be broadcast Saturday, May 10 at 4:00 pm ET on the NBC Sports Network. Race fans can also watch coverage of the races online at www.world-challengetv.com and catch the latest news and updates from the Kia Racing Facebook page at www.facebook.com/kiaracing and follow the team on Twitter: @KiaRacing.
About Kia Motors America
Kia Motors America (KMA) is the marketing and distribution arm of Kia Motors Corporation based in Seoul, South Korea. KMA proudly serves as the "Official Automotive Partner" of the NBA and LPGA and surpassed the 500,000 annual sales mark for the second consecutive year in 2013 following the launch of seven all-new or significantly redesigned vehicles. KMA offers a complete line of vehicles, including the rear-drive K900 flagship sedan, Cadenza premium sedan, Sorento CUV, Soul urban passenger vehicle, Sportage compact CUV, Optima midsize sedan, Optima Hybrid, the Forte compact sedan, Forte5 and Forte Koup, Rio and Rio 5-door sub-compacts and the Sedona midsize multi-purpose vehicle, through a network of more than 765 dealers across the United States. Kia's U.S. manufacturing plant in West Point, Georgia, builds the Optima* and Sorento* and is responsible for the creation of more than 14,000 plant and supplier jobs.
Information about KMA and its full vehicle line-up is available at www.kia.com. For media information, including photography, visit www.kiamedia.com. To receive custom email notifications for press releases the moment they are published, subscribe at www.kiamedia.com/us/en/newsalert.
* The Sorento and Optima GDI (EX, SX & Limited and certain LX Trims only) are assembled in the United States from U.S. and globally sourced parts.
 2015 K900 available in select trims and in select markets with limited availability.
SOURCE Kia Motors America