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Vasser: Saavedra has the speed...

Jimmy Vasser expects Sebastian Saavedra to show his true potential after signing with a combined KVRT/AFS operation for the 2014 IndyCar Series.

KV Racing Technology co-owner Jimmy Vasser sees no reason why new signing Sebastian Saavedra should not be a contender in 2014, despite a difficult start to his IndyCar career.

The Colombian was officially confirmed as team-mate to former Dragon Racing sparring partner Sebastien Bourdais on Wednesday, as KVRT teamed up with AFS Racing owner Gary Peterson in a strategic partnership to field an entry for the #17 Dallara-Chevrolet.

The deal to bring Saavedra on board was not on many radar screens prior to the announcement, but Vasser revealed that the idea had been germinating for some time.

“It actually started with Sebastian and myself bumping into each other at an airport, I think it might have been La Guardia heading to Toronto,” he explained, “We thought we would keep in touch and see how things progressed, not knowing really at that point where either ways were going to go for next season.

“Then [we were] having discussions with Gary over the wintertime, just general discussions, getting to know each other, really on kind of a friendship basis initially, just listening and seeing what was going to happen. We weren't sure what was going to happen with our second car at the time, we were just trying to keep all options open.

Things started to progress over the last 30 days and, lo and behold, here we are. I think it's a very exciting situation for us, keeping the two Sebs together for a second year. I'm familiar with how team-mate situations work, as I've been in them before. Usually, the first season is a little bit awkward with new team-mates, but I think they've gotten that out of the way. They know how they work together good and how they work together bad. I think that will be beneficial.”

Although Saavedra's previous IndyCar involvement has been mercurial at best, Vasser believes that there is potential waiting to be unlocked.

“Obviously, with Conquest, he came in aggressive, and went through some hardships early on in his career at Indianapolis,” he reflected, “It takes a lot of mettle to do that. Last year, early on, qualifying in the Fast Six, and really kind of being very competitive, if not in qualifying form outpacing Bourdais, was very, very impressive.

“The speed is there. Everybody knows it takes a few years to kind of get comfortable in the series, really start finding your legs. We expect him to really get into a rhythm [in 2014]. Maybe he's missed a few tests here, but we're going on to Sebring after this, then Texas and Barber. There should be plenty of seat time for him to get comfortable with the new engineers for him and the team.”



Related Pictures

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Sebastian Saavedra on the fifth day of practice at Indianapolis Motor Speedway - Wednesday May 15, 2013. (Picture Credit: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra during practice for the Grand Prix of Baltimore presented by SRT on Friday, August 30 2013. (Photo Credit: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra during Friday practice at Long Beach. (Photo Credit: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra`s rebuilt #17 KV AFS Racing car makes its return to the track in practice on Tuesday at Indianapolis. (Photo by: Dan Boyd for IndyCar Media)
Sebastien Bourdais and Sebastian Saavedra join the rest of the KVSH Racing team on pit lane on Monday during practice for the Indianapolis 500.  (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra exits his car (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra exits his car (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra, driver of the #17 AFS KV AFS Racing Chevrolet IndyCar V6 celebrates winning the poll Friday, May 9, 2014 for Saturday`s inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis in Indianapolis, Indiana. It`s the first IndyCar poll for Saavedra. (Photo by Michael L. Levitt for Chevy Racing)
Sebastian Saavedra in action at Indianapolis (Photo by: Walter Kuhn for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra wins the Verizon P1 award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Friday, May 9 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra wins the Verizon P1 award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Friday, May 9 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra wins the Verizon P1 award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Friday, May 9 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra wins the Verizon P1 award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Friday, May 9 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra wins the Verizon P1 award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Friday, May 9 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra wins the Verizon P1 award at Indianapolis Motor Speedway for the inaugural Grand Prix of Indianapolis - Friday, May 9 2014. (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra on track in the rain (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Al Unser Jr. speaks with Sebastian Saavedra prior to practice (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Sebastian Saavedra on track (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)

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