KINETIC KIA FORTE KOUP CAPTURES FIRST PODIUM FINISH IN GRAND-AM 200 RACE AT DAYTONA INTERNATIONAL RACEWAY
Drivers Nic Jonsson and Andy Lally Take the #10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup to Victory Circle in Street Tuner (ST) Class in Inaugural Continental Tire Challenge Sports Car Race of the Season
January 28, 2011 -- DAYTONA BEACH, FLORIDA...It was an exciting day for Kinetic Motorsports and Kia Motors America as they captured second place in today's GRAND-AM 200 race in the season opener of the 2011 GRAND-AM Continental Tire Sports Car Challenge racing season. Seventy-two cars started the 62-lap, two hour and thirty minute race, which featured seven lead changes among seven drivers in the Grand Sports (GS) class and seven lead changes among five drivers in the ST class.
A battle to the finish ensued between eventual winners, Ian Baas and Ryan Ellis, in the #171 APR/VW Driver Gear Volkswagen GTI and Nic Jonsson and Andy Lally in the #10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup with less than a one second margin of victory. Jonsson took over second place just two laps from the finish after the final restart and was hunting down Baas when the checkered flag was waved.
The # 12 Kinetic Kia Forte Koup of drivers Adam Burrows and Trevor Hopwood was instrumental in helping their "sister" Kia capture the podium finish by assisting with drafting on the Daytona superspeedway. A broken driver's seat, likely caused by yesterday's hit on the #12 car, and the pit stop it required for repairs, spoiled the #12 car's chances for a decent finish. Driver Burrows got down to business and helped draft Jonsson to the front of the field.
Nic Jonsson, driver, #10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup:
"Today's podium was a fantastic milestone for Kia Motors America. It's the second year of the Kia Forte program and to come out at the first race of 2011 and finish second here at Daytona International Speedway is just unbelievable for us. Our goal this year was to have a podium or two. To start out the season with that accomplishment and at this track, which we should not be this strong, is fantastic. I just have to say a big thank to the 12 car. They really helped push us there because we are not strong on the straight. We really teamed up and worked together. That helped us get up to second place. The yellows also helped bunch us back up so we could compete with the guys on the infield, where we were really strong. It's a fantastic effort from the whole Kinetic Motorsport team, including all the guys back home who have been working tirelessly on the motor program. Thanks to the whole team. It was a team effort and this is a good start for 2011."
Andy Lally, driver, #10 Infinity Audio Forte Koup:
"It was the usual wild race out there. This is always the most fun series that I ever race in. I smile more in this series than I do in any other series. You see amazing things happen in the Continental Tire series that you don't see anyplace else. The level of competition has been raised every year. For this program, so early in it's' infancy with Kia to be on the podium in the first race of the season for 2011 is incredible. It's a testament to the job that Kinetic Motorsports has done. It's a testament to this crew who has worked so hard on these cars over the winter to be able to get here. And it's a testament to my teammate, who drove his butt off there at the end and made some awesome moves and does what he does. It's just really cool. Russell Smith, Ed Hall and Nic Jonsson and all the guys at Kinetic are hugely thrilled for this day, as I am. It's an honor to be a part of this moment."
Michael Sprague, marketing and communications, Kia Motors America:
"It was an unbelievable race, particularly here at Daytona. It's just a tribute to the team and what they have done over the last six months to get the Kia Forte Koups ready for this year's race season. We're just absolutely amazed right now. It's really a great feeling."
Russell Smith, owner, Kinetic Motorsports:
"Here we are at the first race of year two with the Kia program and we get the most exciting result you can imagine of being on the podium at Daytona. I still can't believe it. It's fantastic! To look back and see where we have come from and how much we've improved, developed and learned about the car and how much blood, sweat and tears and literally sitting around trying to figure out how to come up with engineering solutions to improve the race car is a testament to the quality of the people we have around here. There's no other way to describe it. We wouldn't be here if we didn't have good people.
"The really cool thing that happened today is that everybody worked as a team. It was not just the guys in the pits but the drivers. That was just the most fantastic example of how drivers can work as a team and that showed it. Every time we got together and they drafted one another along the track, they increased the gap between the cars behind them. Kia must be very pleased and proud. They told us recently how important it was going to be for us to get a podium and if it ever happened, it would be on the front page of the Korean Times. Literally, it would be a big deal. It's fantastic to see our racing is having an international effect -- a little ol' team from Buford, Georgia. I'm so pleased, so proud. We have the best drivers and we knew that before we even started, that we got the best drivers. I think they managed get the most out of the equipment. The preparation of the equipment works and everything stayed together properly. We look forward to the next race. It's going to be an exciting season."
Adam Burrows, driver, #12 Infinity Audio Forte Koup:
"I think really the thing that made the biggest impact on the weekend was the accident that Trevor had on Thursday when we got hit in practice. The effects of that we have progressively seen throughout with the battery issue in qualifying that sent us to the back and then the seat breaking in the race. Unfortunately we were always behind because of that. For the team to get the seat fixed in the pits was fantastic. They took the time to really make sure it was done right. I not sure how many laps we were down - maybe three or four laps down. We got back out there and the car was fantastic. Even with the accident, the guys did a great job getting everything back together. It worked really well and the car was quick.
"As I was on the track, I saw Nic (Jonsson) was in front of me and we were in the middle a little bit. I didn't know what position he was in but I thought that this was going to be perfect to cover his back. Certainly for first race out of the year after all the building of the car and making it better through last year to come out in second place for the team is a huge success. Congrats to the team and to Kia, it's an exciting day for the entire organization and we are looking forward to having more success this year."
Trevor Hopwood, driver, #12 Infinity Audio Forte Koup:
"The race was a lot of fun coming from the back. We definitely had the pace. We definitely had a Top 5 car. I think the hit I took in practice yesterday is what broke the seat. It just wore it down and then the seat finally broke during my stint and that took us out of it. It was good to get a podium up there for the other car. Adam was able to help them out by drafting. It was a great way to start the year. Congratulations to Nick and Andy and hopefully we can add to this start when we get back to Homestead."
Ed Hall, Team Manager, Kinetic Motorsports:
"It was just an unbelievable result. We're just excited. The best part about the whole race finish was that the podium finish was an entire team effort. We definitely could not have done it without the 12 car. It's unfortunate that we had the issues we did have with the 12 car during the race. It worked out at the end to have the 12 right behind the 10 car. Nic is a world-class driver. What he did in turn one on that last lap is unbelievable. So we're very fortunate to have the crew members and entire team we have of all world-class guys paid out for us.
James Thompson, Kinetic Engine Development Engineer:
"I think the race went pretty well for us. This is a track we didn't feel would suit our cars very well. The cars handle well. They brake well. We're still doing development on the engine program trying to get a couple more horsepower to other cars in the field like the BMW, the Volkswagen and the Hondas. Grand-Am has made some adjustments to our car and other cars which have definitely helped us in our performance. We've picked up some things over the winter time. I think that shows in our results this weekend."
-source: kinetic kia team