In an amazing display of synchronicity, Nic Jönsson drove a 2014 Kia Optima racecar to his first victory of the year recently, with the win coming in the Kia-sponsored "Roar by the Shore" at the famed road course in Long Beach, Calif. It was the second stop of the 2014 Pirelli World Challenge season, and Jönsson's performance helped him move into first place in the GTS class drivers' standings.
“It’s so satisfying to win here at Long Beach, just a few miles from Kia’s U.S. headquarters down in Irvine [Calif.],” said Jönsson. “Last season was pretty rough for me. The car was strong, and Mark scored well, but we weren’t able to post those kinds of results, so it’s fantastic to get back into victory circle. And to be able to share it in-person with all of the [Kia] team members is just outstanding.”
As for "Mark," that's Mark Wilson, who also drives a 2014 Kia Optima in the Pirelli series. He, too, has gotten off to a strong start this year, thanks in part to a thrilling last-lap pass that allowed him to capture third place at the Long Beach race. Wilkins is now fifth on the GTS leaderboard, while Kia has overtaken Chevrolet and Porsche to climb into second position in the race for the manufacturer's championship.
“This was really a great weekend for Kia Racing and for Kia as a whole," added Wilkins. “We keep showing how really well built the Optima is. We worked hard during the off-season to get the most out of the car, and it’s paying off right now."
Folks can see for themselves by tuning into the NBC Sports Network on April 20, at 5:00 p.m. ET, when the race will be televised, or see the 2014 Kia Optima racers in person at the next Pirelli World Championship event, currently scheduled for April 25-27 at the Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala.
The production models of the 2014 Kia Optima—including the turbocharged versions on which the racecars are based—are at dealerships now.