Sebastian Saavedra Wins Indy Lights Race at Barber
Sebastian Saavedra outpaced the 15-car field in efficient manner in the 40-lap Grand Prix of Alabama. It was the fourth victory in the series for Saavedra, driving the No. 27 Team AFS car, and first this season.
Tristan Vautier, driving the No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car and the race winner at St. Pete, retained the series championship points lead by finishing second. Saavedra is eight points behind heading to the street course race at Long Beach on April 15.
Esteban Guerrieri, who started fourth in the No. 11 Pistas Argentina’s/Sam Schmidt Motorsports car, advanced to claim a podium finish.
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Team AFS, winner Grand Prix of Alabama): "I think we did an incredible job. The car was great in the beginning, we were able to manage a very good gap on Tristan (Vautier), and at some point we started saving tires. It didn't work very well. I think when I needed the tires to help me out when Tristan was getting close to me, they were not there. Fortunately it was only five laps to go. They threw me a curveball over there with that restart but I think we kept a very cool head, very calm, and we did it perfectly. I'm very happy, unfortunately my teammate is not at this point by my side, we should be 1-2 for Andretti Autosport, but very important points for the championship."
TRISTAN VAUTIER (No. 77 Mazda Road to Indy/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished second): "I'm quite satisfied about the race. Second is very good, of course, you love to win, but the Andretti guys were very strong in the open testing, we knew they were the ones to beat and we got very close at the end of the race. I tried at the start, when I saw Sebastian pulling away, to save my tires and try to do a move at the end and catch him at the end and it almost worked. Then we got the yellow flag, which cost us a few laps and it was quite close between us three on the restart, but then another yellow flag. So it was just you know, I have to thank the Sam Schmidt guys, it was a consistent car today. The traction and the rear grip stayed very good, and they did a really good job improving the car from testing here ten days ago. Very happy to be with Esteban on the podium again, it's tough competition this year, it's good, it's nice battles always, so really looking forward to the next race and working hard to be strong at Long Beach."
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI (No. 11 Pistas Argentina’s/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished third): (About his pass on Carlos Munoz): "The pass was quite good, I managed to get on the inside, my wheel touched his sidepod, much like last year with Josef except this year it worked out. After that I had the pace, I had the pace at the beginning but I started to feel as I did the race distance in the test, I thought that the tires were going to go away very quickly, which they did, so I just tried to be tough at the end, and I knew it was going to be hard to overtake Carlos, that's why I wanted to do it early in the first lap, but I didn't manage to. (About final restart): "After the restart, I was going to try to risk a little bit if I could, but no chance. So in the end, a very nice battle between us three, and the boys did a very good job."
GUSTAVO YACAMAN (No. 2 TMR-Tuvacol-Xtreme Coil Drilling, finished fourth): "It was OK. It was a really, really long race. We were concerned about the tire wear, so we raced really hard for the first two laps until everything got settled and then my focus was saving tires. Saving tires and keeping a pace. Mike Colliver, my engineer, did a really good job pacing me. When I was behind Oliver (Webb) and saw he was falling off, he had me push Oliver into making a mistake and letting me go by him. Once we got past Oliver, we got settled into a pace and we were catching the No. 9 car (Alon Day). Then we got a safety car. My tires were still really good, and I was able to get past Alon and then (Carlos) Munoz made his mistake. I was going to get by him anyway. My car was good towards the end and our focus on saving tires was excellent. I just need to thank my team. They did a really good job. It was a tough weekend for us, but with a cool head, we got a pretty good result."
VICTOR CARBONE (No. 3 MAV TV/Nevoni/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, finished fifth): "I was able to make up a lot of ground in the first lap, then I was stuck behind Horto, and it took me several laps to get by him. While that was happening, the other guys built a huge gap. I was able to get closer to them on the yellow flag, which helped. I knew that tires were going to be an issue at this track, and I tried to be as smooth as possible to save my tires. The goal today with starting last was to get up in the field for points. I want to say thanks to the team. They did a really good job rebuilding the car after qualifying."
||Juan Pablo Garcia