Ranger battles to second, Wilkins drives through the pack to seventh. TORONTO (August 30, 2003) - Mixed weather greeted Aim Autosport in Denver for the ninth round of the 2003 FRAN AM 2000 North American Pro Championship Series as the team...
Ranger battles to second, Wilkins drives through the pack to seventh.
TORONTO (August 30, 2003) - Mixed weather greeted Aim Autosport in Denver for the ninth round of the 2003 FRAN AM 2000 North American Pro Championship Series as the team was looking to continue their winning streak of three in a row with rookie driver Andrew Ranger, as well as pushing AIM Autosport teammate Mark Wilkins onto the podium.
Coming off a victory in Montreal in round eight, Ranger qualified third fastest in Denver just 0.084 seconds behind pole winner and championship rival Charley Hall. Mark Wilkins was looking to turn his recent bad luck around but could only manage 14th in qualifying 1.240 seconds off pole. The team did find some irregularities with the brakes on Wilkins's car and rectified the problem for the race.
Andrew Ranger (AIM Autosport/Tide/Downey/Swiffer/Mr. Clean #27)
Qualified Third / Finished Second / Currently First Place in Championship
Sixteen year-old Quebec native Andrew Ranger starting from third on the grid behind Charley Hall and Juan Martin Ponte got away from the standing start well and began a great scrap with Ponte for second place - allowing Hall to build up a six second lead up front.
Andrew finally got by Ponte and began pursuing Charley Hall, setting fastest race-lap after fastest race-lap. With two laps remaining Andrew pulled up along side Hall in turns 6 & 7, making brief contact before running out of road and giving way to Hall.
At the checkered flag, it was Ranger in second place behind Hall by 0.895 seconds; followed by Robert Bell, Sean McIntosh and Dan McMullen. Eighteen of the 21 cars finished on the lead lap.
"I'm very happy with this result. The team did a great job. I tried to bother Hall late in the race but didn't want to jeopardize my points with a mistake. This season is exceeding my expectations." Said Andrew.
Ranger now readies himself for his first race in the British Formula Renault Championship, September 5-7 at Donington Park, UK driving for Manor Motorsports with AIM Autosport race engineer Yancy Diotalevi providing technical assistance.
Mark Wilkins (AIM Autosport/Trizec Canada #34)
Qualified 14th / Finished Seventh / Currently Sixth Place in Championship
Twenty year-old Ontario native Mark Wilkins arrived in Denver looking to make up ground on fourth and fifth place runners in the championship standings. Mark had some brake problems in qualifying and could only manage a 14th placing on the grid. However, with the brake problem corrected he was up to the challenge of moving through the field in the race--
When the red lights went out Mark got a terrific jump on the field and before the first lap was complete he had passed five cars and was sitting ninth! After several laps under a full course caution the green came out and Mark had a great run to the checker picking up two more places to finish a well deserved seventh.
2003 Fran-Am North American Championship Points after round nine of thirteen
1 Andrew Ranger AIM Autosport 257
2 Charley Hall 218
3 Robert Bell 196
4 Juan Martin Ponte 138
5 Aurelio Lopez 136
6 Mark Wilkins AIM Autosport 124
Aim Autosport's Fran-Am team next races September 19-20 at the Circuit Mont Tremblant