Kia Racing scored back-to-back podium finishes – including its second win of the 2014 season – in round three and four of the Pirelli World Challenge (PWC) at Barber Motorsport Park in Birmingham, Ala. Mark Wilkins piloted the number 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 number 36 DonorsChoose.org Optima turbo, followed that performance on Sunday with a second place in the driver standings behind Wilkins. The team’s outstanding results at Barber move Kia into first place in the Manufacturer Championship standings ahead of Porsche, Ford and Chevy.
“We has 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.