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Saavedra claims St Pete Lights pole.


Rookie Sebastien Saavedra supplanted AFS/Andretti Green Racing team-mate JR Hildebrand at the head of the timesheets in qualifying for the second race of the Firestone Indy Lights weekend in St Petersburg.

The Colombian has shown pace since signing up for the series over the winter and converted second in his qualifying group in first qualifying to a maiden pole position second time around. Saavedra's pole gives AFS/Andretti Green Racing a sweep of the poles for the two season-opening races after Hildebrand topped the group in qualifying for race one. Their positions reversed, Hildebrand will start third in race two.

“It's very exciting, especially considering this is my first Firestone Indy Lights race weekend," Saavedra commented, "I'm very happy - my team did an awesome job, the Firestone tyres were just amazing for the whole session.

“We're a good team and there's good communication with my team-mate. We already have it sorted out, more or less, on how we want the race to go. Obviously, we never know how the pitch is going to come, but we're really positive and have a fast car. The team has done an awesome job with the engineering, so it's just up to us to show what we've got.”

Junior Strous will again start from the front row, after repeating his group-topping run from first qualifying.

“We had a good run, but there were a lot of cautions," the Dutchman reported, "The car was good, and we saved a set of tyres because we didn't put on a new set halfway through the session, so we have a new set for each race, which is good. The car was handling fine, although it was a bit too low – we bottomed out a bit, which made it hard. But I think it's a very good race car - I'm looking forward to racing it this afternoon.”

James Davison qualified fourth for the second consecutive day, and will line-up ahead of Ana Beatriz and Richard Philippe, who make up row three. Philippe's performance was particularly noteworthy after he failed to post a time in first qualifying.

James Hinchcliffe, Jay Howard, Martin Plowman and Mario Romancini complete the top ten, with the Panther Racing driver showing a big improvement over the 19th position he recorded in qualifying one.


Related Pictures

Click on relevant pic to enlarge
Sebastian Saavedra - AFS/AGR   [pic credit: IRL/Haines]
Ed Jones, Dale Coyne Racing, IndyCar [Credit: Ed Jones PR]
Alexander Rossi - Andretti Autosport   [pic credit: Indycar Media/Joe Skibinski]
Simon Pagenaud (Team Penske) celebrates winning the 2016 IndyCar title with victory at Sonoma   [pic credit: Chris Owens]
Simon Pagenaud - Team Penske   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Ed Jones celebrates winning the 2016 Indy Lights championship
Kyle Kaiser (Juncos Racing) celebrates at Laguna Seca
Kyle Kaiser - Juncos Racing
Ed Carpenter Racing crew working on the boss` car   [pic credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens]
Indy Lights action
Indy Lights title contender Santiago Urrutia, Ed Jones, Dean Stoneman, Felix Serralles, Kyle Kaiser and Zach Veach   [pic credit: IndyCar Media]
Santiago Urrutia - Schmidt Petersen Motorsport
Will Power - Team Penske
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to victory at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Scott Dixon (Target Chip Ganassi Racing) on his way to pole at Watkins Glen   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Owens]
Graham Rahal celebrates victory in the Firestone 600 at Texas Motor Speedway   (image credit: IndyCar Media/Chris Owens)
Scott Dixon leads the Indycar field   [pic credit: Indycar media/Bret Kelley]
Will Power - Team Penske   [pic credit: Indycar media/Chris Jones]

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