Close finishes continue to be a common occurrence in the 2008 Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series as Friday's Montreal 200 at the Circuit Gilles Villeneuve produced the narrowest margin yet in series history.

Canadian Mark Wilkins, a native of Toronto, passed another Toronto-born driver, Darren Law, and Spaniard Antonio Garcia on the last of 69 laps when Law ran out of fuel on the main straightaway. It was a first career victory for Wilkins and co-driver Brian Frisselle, as the former beat Garcia to the line by just 0.064secs.

Frisselle had started the AIM machine and jumped from third to first on the opening lap, but contact between him and points leader Scott Pruett sent the #61 Ford Riley spinning to the rear of the field. Undeterred however, Frisselle marched the car quickly back into the top ten, before handing off to Wilkins on lap 23.

"It started off a little bit rough," Frisselle said later, "Scott got into the back of me at the start and spun me around, which pretty much put me dead-last. We came from the back of the pack though and the car was great. I think we had the fastest lap of the race during my stint, and I think I passed all the way to seventh."

Pruett, meanwhile, kept the #01 Ganassi car out front until his driver change, but Law took the lead from the American's co-driver Memo Rojas on lap 57 and held off Joey Hand - who led a strong charge before retiring after running out of fuel on the final lap - then Garcia and Wilkins. Later on the lap, however, the #58 Brumos Racing Porsche Riley slowed as it approached the chequered flag.

Garcia, co-driving for the first time this season with Christian Fittipaldi, tried to go left and then right when he saw Law slow, but Wilkins was already making the pass. Wilkins shot past both drivers, taking the flag first - the only lap the AIM Autosport team led all race. The victory was the first for a Ford engine in the Daytona Prototype class since Barber Motorsports Park in July 2006, and preserved the series' jinx on polewinners, who also have not won a race since late last season.

"It was so close at the finish, and I feel for the #16 and the #58 cars," Wilkins said, "Those guys drove a heck of a race, but I thought we had pretty good tyres at the end, so I have to thank Pirelli for that. We also need to thank Ford for getting us a great engine.

"Brian did a great job with recovering from the earlier contact and to get the car back up front, but our engineer came on and said 'you've got to save fuel, we're low', so this feels great for AIM Autosport. I can't say enough for the guys we've been working with and it feels really great."

Garcia, in turn, kept the Cheever Racing Coyote in second - the car's best ever result and a best for the Cheever team since Homestead '06 - over Law, as the race became the third straight where the margin of victory was less than a second.

"I think, without that little drop [of fuel], I could have stayed at the front," Garcia sighed, "It was also really scary. It was really tight between the #58 and us. There was a point where I even needed to lift. I think we deserved to finish second because they did a really good job. It's very good for the team. Christian did a really good job on his stint. The team and the car did a really good job here."

"It's probably the most depressing podium that we've had and that I've had ever," Law grimaced, "We had a great car and the team did a great job. We had a car to win. David had a beautiful first stint, taking it from seventh to third on the first lap, and he brought it into the pits in first. I had a great run and brought it back up front - and we had it up front all the way until the end. When it started stumbling and slowing down, and I saw these guys coming down the straightaway, I don't know. I think the team really deserved to win. It's depressing."

Joao Barbosa and JC France took fourth in the #59 Brumos Racing entry, as Pruett and Rojas faded to fifth after Pruett had earned pole earlier in the afternoon. Between them, the points leaders led 27 laps before Rojas surrendered to Law.

Robin Liddell and Andrew Davis won the GT class, taking their third victory of the season in the #57 Stevenson Motorsports Pontiac GXP.R after leader Dirk Werner ran out of fuel on the final lap. Again, it marked the only lap either Liddell or Davis led all race.

"I feel great now," Liddell smiled, "I felt pretty crummy about ten laps from the end because we started to wonder if we'd done the right thing. I've seen in races like this, when the time is a little different, a few oddities appear. When I drove through during the end lap, the number of cars that ran out of fuel was pretty amazing. People take gambles that perhaps they wouldn't normally take. You try to come up with different strategies to win. For some people, that plays out and, for others, it doesn't."

Werner led a race-high 42 laps, and was attempting to give himself and Bryce Miller a first victory of the season when the #87 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3 slowed on the main straightaway. The pairing went on to finish fourth.

Montreal-born Sylvain Tremblay and co-driver Nick Ham finished second in the #70 SpeedSource Mazda RX-8, while Diego Alessi and Matt Connolly took third in the #21 Matt Connolly Motorsports Pontiac GTO.R.

Polesitter Eric Lux and co-driver Leh Keen finished fifth in the #86 Farnbacher Loles Racing Porsche GT3, after polewinner Lux had posted a record qualifying time of 1min 42.362secs.

Two cautions for debris, lasting a total of six laps, slowed the race's average to 92.368mph.


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