IRVINE, Calif., January 31, 2012 - The momentum of the 2011 championship-winning season for Kia Motors America's (KMA) motorsports program carried into 2012 with a mere half a car length separating the No. 10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup from a win at Daytona International Speedway. Racing fans were treated to a near photo finish as Nic Jönsson and Andy Lally scored a solid second place finish at Friday's season-opening BMW Performance 200 at Daytona. The weekend started strong as Lally put Kia on the pole for the first time ever with a scorching lap time of 2:06.613, setting a new Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge (CTSCC) Street Tuner (ST) qualifying lap record for the legendary high-banked circuit. In his Kia debut, Mark Pombo qualified the No. 12 Forte Koup in the second position, making for an all-Kia front row on the starting grid.
"A podium finish is an awesome way to start the season. The Continental series is really deep with talent, not just in the driver's seat, but also in terms of engineers and mechanics," said Jönsson. "It's great to have Andy back on the team to help us run for Kia's first manufacturer's championship."
Rain made for treacherous conditions in the first 20 minutes of the race, but once the sun came out, the competition and the temperature heated up. "The rain and wet track made for an exciting start, and we had a good scrap with the BMW guys along the way. But my job was to pass the car off to Nic and let him do his magic," said Lally. "We've started this season the same way we did last season, with a podium here at Daytona. Let's hope we can finish it the same way, too, and score another championship for Kia Racing."
Starting from second place on the grid, the brothers Mark and Mat Pombo had high hopes for their first outing in the No. 12 Infinity Audio Forte Koup and despite two on-track incidents, Mat Pombo ultimately crossed the finish line in a respectable 11th place.
"Achieving back-to-back podium finishes at a demanding track like Daytona speaks to the hard work and dedication of our team's offseason program," said Michael Sprague, vice president, marketing & communications, KMA. "Andy and Nic's podium finish is a fantastic start for Kia and Kinetic Motorsports as we look to repeat last season's championship performance, and we are looking forward to more great performances throughout the 2012 season."
Race fans can watch the season-opening BMW Performance 200 at Daytona on SPEED on Saturday, Feb. 4 at 12:00 p.m. ET. Kia Racing fans can catch all the latest news and updates on our fan page 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." 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.
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