Homestead: AIM Autosport qualifying report

Mark puts the No. 61 Ford Riley on the second row! (2009.10.09) "My fastest lap didn't feel so quick because the rest were so on the limit!" With those words, Mark Wilkins described his qualifying run this afternoon that put the No. 61 Ford...

Mark puts the No. 61 Ford Riley on the second row!

(2009.10.09) "My fastest lap didn't feel so quick because the rest were so on the limit!" With those words, Mark Wilkins described his qualifying run this afternoon that put the No. 61 Ford Riley on the second row for the fourth time this season.

Wilkins was quick from the start of the session and quickly into the 1:13's and with a top five position. Mid way through qualifying, Mark slowed to get some space on track and with a gap, recorded the fastest time on his next hot lap - a 1:13.305 at 112.952 mph, moving to fourth place on the starting grid. Mark pushed for three more laps and but could not quite get to third, missing by just sixty-eight thousandths of a second. The No. 61 Ford Riley is just four-tenths of a second off the leaders time.

"We made a few changes that worked great for us in qualifying" commented Mark. "But that meant the car was truly operating at its limit which gave me a moment or two. As it turned out though, the one lap I seemed to hang it out the most, felt comfortable and turned out to be our fast lap." He continued, "Now we will get the car set up for the race so that Burt can bring it home, hopefully on the podium."

A good qualifying position for the No. 61 Ford Riley in this final race is also important in terms of AIM's chances to move up in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series Championship. Currently sitting sixth, they need to finish just two positions ahead of their nearest rival to move into fifth place to repeat from last year. In 2008 Aim finished fifth overall having recorded three straight podiums including two race wins.

"To repeat in fifth against some very tough competitors, is just a testament to how solid and consistent we have run this year" offered team principal Ian Willis. "While we have not reached the podium in 2009, we have finished every race except the Rolex 24 because we have avoided mechanical issues and mistakes that have cost us in the past."

Willis continued, "But the season is not over yet - not until tomorrow, so we we still have a chance at a podium. It would be great to close out the year for the entire team a with top three result and we know that Mark and Burt will give it their all to make it happen."

-credit: aim

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About this article
Series Grand-Am
Drivers Mark Wilkins