Home / Auto News / News article: Kia Racing Optima Claims its First Victory in World Challenge - AutoGuide.com News
 |  Jun 23 2012, 5:46 PM

With Michael Galati behind the wheel of the number 36 Kia Motors America Kia Optima, the Korean automaker has captured its first series win in the SCCA Pirelli World Challenge GTS competition.

Galati started from pole – the 24th in his career – before falling behind Jack Baldwin’s Porsche Cayman S and Aaron Povoledo’s Ford Mustang Boss 302S at the start. But it didn’t take long for Galati to reclaim the front spot and was never seriously challenged on his way to victory. As icing on the cake, Kia also captured the second spot in the GTS class giving it a 1-2 finish with Mark Wilkins standing by Galati on the podium. Wilkins also set a new Pirelli World Challenge GTS race lap record with a time of 1:27.214.

It’s an impressive achievement for the Korean automaker, considering that the Optima has only participated in half a dozen or so races.

“This is my favorite track in the world,” Galati said. “I’ve won a lot of races here. I feel at home here. People say Ohio is my home track. This is my home track. I love this track because it’s so fast.”