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Saavedra takes Indy Lights pole at Barber
Sebastian Saavedra
Scott Morris/AR1..com
Firestone Indy Lights driver Sebastian Saavedra, driving the No. 27 Team AFS car, posted a best lap of 1 minute, 16.4968 seconds on the 2.38-mile, 17-turn Barber Motorsports Park road course to earn the Sunoco Pole Award for the 45-lap Grand Prix of Alabama on April 1.

Saavedra, who topped the time sheet in the lone practice session March 30 (the second was canceled because of a downpour), jumped to the top of the qualifying time sheet with just under five minutes left in the 45-minute session and remained there when a red flag flew for a one-car incident involving the No. 7 Lucas Oil/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car driven by Oliver Webb.

2nd place starter Tristan Vautier
Scott Morris/AR1..com
Tristan Vautier will start alongside Saavedra.  It's his second consecutive front-row start; the 2011 Star Mazda champion won from the pole in his Firestone Indy Lights debut at St. Pete.


SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS, Sunoco Pole Award winner): "It was a very tough qualifying session. Very wet in a couple of places and you don't want it to be wet. A very big thanks to the No. 27 guys. They did an amazing job. This car was unbelievably fast all through the weekend. It was also very fast last week in St. Pete. It feels very good to have our first pole of the season and we will move forward from here."

TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports): "I'm happy and frustrated at the same time. I'm happy because I feel like we made a big step from practice, and we improved the car a lot. The team and my engineer made the right calls for the car. I'm happy because I feel we could have had this pole, but I'm frustrated because with the red flag we didn't get to use our last set of tires, we just put it on and then it was red, we just did a warm-up lap. But you know, we took a risk in waiting longer and it didn't work out, so great job from these guys at Andretti/AFS, they made the right call in qualifying and were strong from the start of practice here. So well deserved, and we'll do our best to do it in the race."

Qualifying Saturday for the Grand Prix of Alabama Firestone Indy Lights Series event on the 2.3-mile Barber Motorsports Park, with starting position, car number in parentheses, driver, time and speed in parentheses: zzzz 

1.  (27) Sebastian Saavedra,  01:16.4968 (108.240)
2.  (77) Tristan Vautier,  01:16.7270 (107.915)
3.  (26) Carlos Munoz,  01:17.0882 (107.409)
4.  (11) Esteban Guerrieri,  01:17.2494 (107.185)
5.  (7) Oliver Webb,  01:17.4288 (106.937)
6.  (9) Alon Day,  01:17.5997 (106.701)
7.  (2) Gustavo Yacaman,  01:17.6158 (106.679)
8.  (4) Jorge Goncalvez,  01:17.8393 (106.373)
9.  (28) Troy Castaneda,  01:17.9743 (106.189)
10.  (86) JV Horto,  01:18.0338 (106.108)
11.  (76) Juan Pablo Garcia,  01:18.0496 (106.086)
12.  (24) Armaan Ebrahim,  01:18.3943 (105.620)
13.  (20) Darryl Wills,  01:18.7854 (105.096)
14.  (22) David Ostella,  01:18.7993 (105.077)
15.  (3) Victor Carbone,  no time (no speed)

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