Argentinian race driver Estaban Guerrieri claimed victory at the end of the 2012 Firestone Indy Lights Freedom 100 event on Friday afternoon, the traditional weekend support race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway before the Indy 500 on Sunday.

Guerrieri had qualified poorly for the race in 11th on the grid in the #11 Pistas Argentinas/Sam Schmidt Motorsports with Curb-Agajanian car, and then been sent to the back of the field for a pre-race engine change. Instead, it was 21-year-old Colombian Gustavo Yacaman who had claimed his first Firestone Indy Lights series pole position on Thursday with a two-lap aggregate time of 1:35.9913s (an average speed of 187.517 mph). It had also been the first pole in the Freedom 100 for Team Moore Racing, breaking a three-year stranglehold on the top spot for SSM.

"Everything on that car had to be perfect to do what we just did. The car was great and the first lap was really fast," Yacaman said after his qualifying run. "To be honest, this kind of oval is more about the car, the team and the engineer than the driving really. I owe it all to my team."

Joining Yacuman on the front row of the grid for the start of the 40-lap, 100-mile race was Victor Carbone in the #3 Mav TV/Nevoni/SSM with Curb-Agajanian car, with Carlos Munoz taking third place in the #26 Team Dialy-Ser for Andretti Autosport. The first driver to run in qualifying, Jorge Goncalvez, ended up starting the #4 Belardi Auto Racing car from fourth place, while series points leader Sebastian Saavedra - who will also compete in the Indianapolis 500 with Andretti Autosport - was only able to manage a 10th place start. "It was not what I was expecting, I thought we could have quite a bit stronger pace," he admitted.

The race itself saw an early multi-car wreck on lap 5 in turn 2 triggered by SSM rookie Oliver Webb and Team E's Brandon Wagner touching which promptly collected Team Moore Racing's David Ostella sending all three into hard contact with the SAFER barrier.

"You've just got to be patient," said a frustrated Wagner. "We were going four-wide: that's fine and all, but when you're only on the fifth lap of the race, that's just crazy. Unfortunately, we had the position going into 2, and the #7 just came down on top us. I don't know what happened. I don't know if he didn't see me."

"Ostella, coming up behind me, started to come down," explained Webb from his vantage point of the accident. "He cleared my right and made contact with someone who made a late move down to my inside and touched my rear tyre. Anyone higher than me, we were all collected together. A disappointing way to finish my first Freedom 100."

"Going into turn 2, the guys in front of me kind of just touched and spun," said Ostrella. "I tried to go high, but I just got collected."

Emerson Newton-John in the #42 Fan Force United spun in avoidance and ended up collecting the #15 Younessi Racing car of Peter Dempsey. All of the drivers involved were checked by medical staff and required no further treatment.

That brought out an 11 minute red flag while the damage to the barrier was repaired. Prior to the stoppage, Munoz and Carbone had been scrapping over the lead, and that fight resumed at the restart: Carbone won the battle and then came under sustained pressure from the polesitter Yacuman. At the halfway point, Carbone and Yacuman led a top six further consisting of Munoz, Saavedra, Guerrieri and the #77 SSM car of rookie Tristan Vautier, with a lot of pack drafting in evidence.

Carbone continued to lead until lap 27 when Vautier moved forward and claimed the lead, managing to sustain that - by a knife-edge at points under attack from Carbone, Yacaman and Munoz - through to lap 39. But then with two to go, Munoz and Guerrieri went high and low around Vautier to take the lead from him, Guerrieri getting the credit for the lead by 0.0352s over Munoz.

Next time around, Jorge Goncalvez put the #4 car into the SAFER barrier at turn 2 after spinning off the low line which left him impacting with the left front and side of the car: "I was trying to get the best finish I can," he explained. "I came in really fast, and I lost the car in turn 2. I don't know exactly what happened because the car got loose in the back, and I went straight into the wall."

That brought out a yellow, and meant the race finished under caution with Estaban Guerrieri claiming the win over Munoz, Vautier, Yacaman Saavedra and Cabone.

"I'm really, really happy, it was one of those weekends that I trusted I was going to finish well even though I qualified bad," said Guerrieri, who had been struggling with serious oversteer mid-race. "I'm overjoyed. From last to first, I'm really happy."

If Munoz was gutted to lose out by such a small margin and to not have the opportunity to counter-attack because of the caution, he was putting a brave face on it. "I am proud to be here and also I'm really happy to be my first oval race and finish second," he insisted. "It was an awesome race. It was a really fun race. We were overtaking all of the time for second, third, fourth. It was really fun."

It is Guerrieri's fifth career Firestone Indy Lights victory, his second victory this season after winning the preceding race at Long Beach. It means that Sam Schmidt Motorsports now has won seven of the ten Firestone Freedom 100 races - including the last four consecutive events.

New Indy Lights race car for 2014

Earlier in the day, the organisers of the Firestone Indy Lights confirmed that they intended to introduce a new-model race car to the competition in 2014, after having achieved the same technical upgrade with the IZOD IndyCar Series over the past few months.

"As we look to the future for Firestone Indy Lights, we believe it's important that we do everything we can to attract new drivers, teams, partners and manufacturers to our series to continue to improve our formal system of driver development," said Tony George Jr., the director of Firestone Indy Lights. "The debut of the new car in 2014 will be a key step in this process while allowing our teams to operate as a true business through improved value proposition."

The series said it was inviting proposals from interested manufacturers with a deadline of June 30 for submission of applications.

The series wants a car suited to both road/street and oval tracks, must meet current FIA static and impact regulations, and should reflect current contemporary race car design with a forward-thinking, sophisticated and exciting formula. Paddle shift gears, state-of-the-art data systems and sensors and the potential to integrate an alternative fuel source are also on the agenda.

"With our premium on safety, our goal is to develop a car that is technology relevant to the new IZOD IndyCar Series car," said the series technical director, former HVM Racing team manager Vince Kremer who will supervise the new car project along with IndyCar's vice president of technology, Will Phillips.