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Saavedra handed Sonoma outing

Sebastian Saavedra will be competing in the Indy Grand Prix of Sonoma next month, after Andretti Autosport announced a co-entry with AFS Racing for the Colombian.
Sebastian Saavedra will get his second IZOD IndyCar Series outing of the year at Sonoma on August 26, after Andretti Autosport announced that they were once again pairing up with AFS Racing to field the #17 car for the Colombian.

“I am very excited about this great opportunity," said the 22-year-old racer. "I really enjoy driving in Sonoma; there is something about the place that makes it special."

Saavedra was an IndyCar regular with Conquest Racing in 2011, but struggled for results and to find funding for his last few races, leading him to opt to return to the Firestone Indy Lights series for 2012 and to act as a test and development driver for the Andretti squad. He also got an opportunity to run the #17 co-venture in May at the Indianapolis 500, eventually finishing in 26th place after the car suffered technical problems.

"I'm very proud of Sebastian. Clearly, deciding to run the full season of Firestone Indy Lights was the right one." said Gary Peterson, the owner of AFS Racing. "He's gotten more oval and road course experience, test driven the IndyCars, and run the Indy 500. Now, he's getting another IndyCar opportunity at Sonoma.

"Everything we're doing is putting Seb in an excellent position to build upon his future and help set the stage for a great AFS Racing/Andretti Autosport 2013 program," added Peterson. "He is a talented driver with a great attitude; he has what it takes to become an IndyCar champion.”

Andretti Autosport team principal Michael Andretti echoed those thoughts. “I've been impressed this year with Sebastian," he said. "Running this season in Firestone Indy Lights provides great testing opportunities and is the best decision for Sebastian as he works to advance in the sport. Having the opportunity to run both the Indy 500 and at Sonoma lets him ease into the new DW12 car and back into the Series."

Saavedra is currently third in the Indy Lights championship standings, having claimed one win and five podium positions in the eight races so far.

It was announced earlier in the week that Saavedra would take part in the test day scheduled for Sonoma on August 17 along with his Andretti Autosport team mates Ryan Hunter-Reay, James Hinchcliffe and Marco Andretti. Also scheduled to attend the test are Penske trio Will Power, Ryan Briscoe and Helio Castroneves; Dragon Racing's Sebastien Bourdais; Rahal Letterman Lanigan's Takuma Sato; Schmidt-Hamilton's Simon Pagenaud; and owner-driver Ed Carpenter.

Andretti Autosport is currently riding high in the 2012 IZOD IndyCar Series, with three back-to-back wins for Hunter-Reay putting the American 34pts ahead of Power at the top of the title battle.



Related Pictures

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Sebastian Saavedra (#17) during practice for the 96th running of the Indianapolis 500. 12-27 May, 2012, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA. (c) 2012 F. Peirce Williams (Photo credit: INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Sebastian Saavedra at Long Beach. (Photo Courtesy of INDYCAR/LAT USA)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates with his daughter Mikaella after winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest.  (Photo by Phillip Abbott/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Gregg Ellman/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves, Driver of the #3 Automobile Club of Southern California Team Penske Chevrolet IndyCar V6, celebrates winning the pole with the fastest qualifying time Friday, August 29, 2014, for Saturday`s Verizon IndyCar Series race at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana, California. Castroneves will start in the front row with teammate Juan Pablo Montoya, who qualified second fastest. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt/LAT for Chevy Racing)
Helio Castroneves slides into his machine prior to the first session of the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves crosses the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe go wheel-to-wheel during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon streaks across the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon crosses the start/finish line during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Will Power sits on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Simon Pagenaud preps on pit lane prior to the evening Open Test session at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power in his pit stand prior to track activity during the Open Test at Auto Club Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Crossing the start/finish line during testing (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Cars jostling for position through turn 2 during the start of the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Racewa (Photo by: Richard Dowdy for IndyCar Media)
The confetti flies as Scott Dixon celebrates winning the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Scott Dixon takes the twin chequered flags to win the GoPro Grand Prix of Sonoma at Sonoma Raceway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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