Burt Frisselle scored a seventh place result in Saturday’s Montreal 200 at Circuit Gilles Villeneuve as the GRAND-AM Rolex Sports Car Series staged the penultimate round of the 2011 championship.
Frisselle opened the two-hour sprint event at the controls of the AIM Autosport No. 61 GAMMA88 BMW-Riley from sixth on the grid and wasted no time moving forward as he slotted into the fifth position on the second lap.
The Colorado racer delivered another strong performance throughout his stint and had a great battle for sixth position as the No. 01 Ganassi Daytona Prototype closed in from behind. Frisselle kept the GAMMA88 machine firmly in front of the charging No. 01 as the radio broadcasters noted Frisselle’s perfection through the corners as he defended against the four-time series champions.
Frisselle would regain his fifth place position before making his way to pit road on Lap 25 for AIM Autosport’s first scheduled pit stop. Co-driver Mark Wilkins strapped into the GAMMA88 BMW while the team worked quickly under green flag conditions and returned to the field sixth in line.
Wilkins, who resides in Canada, would work his way up to fourth in front of his home crowd and without any race cautions within the first 1 hour and 20 minutes of the event, was forced to make the team’s second scheduled pit stop under green with 42 minutes remaining in the race. Compromising the call was the fact that radio issues made for some communication challenges between the car and the pits.
AIM Autosport again made quick work in the pits and the No. 61 returned to race action eighth in the order with Wilkins making his way into the seventh position prior to the race’s one and only caution period which occurred with just 15 minutes remaining.
The late-race caution would bunch the field for a 10-minute sprint to the finish but unfortunately the No. 61 would sustain contact from another car on the restart and was forced to the pits for repairs. Another notable effort by the AIM Autosport squad saw the No. 61 return to the track in its same position to finish the race seventh.
“All the AIM Autosport guys worked so hard this weekend and I think qualifying ahead of the Ganassi car has to be the highlight of our weekend,” said Frisselle. “They run the same package as we do and in the race we were running the same speed as them so I’m proud of all the AIM guys. The result wasn’t what we wanted for GAMMA 88 but the guys worked hard all weekend and the process that we went through was excellent for everybody. It was definitely a challenging race but a top-10 is good and it was great to be ahead of Ganassi in qualifying so we’ll just keep on digging.”