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Saavedra wins Toronto Indy Lights

Sebastian Saavedra rebounded from the disappointment of being penalised for blocking in last week's Watkins Glen Indy Lights race to claim victory on the streets of Toronto.

The Colombian passed AFS/AGR team-mate JR Hildebrand on lap 18 of 50, and went on to record a 5.8630secs victory over the championship leader in a caution-free race, while hometown favourite James Hinchcliffe finished third - for the fourth time this season - after starting alongside Saavedra on the front row. Stefan Wilson finished a season-high fourth in the #19 Walker Racing car.

Saavedra led away from pole position but, with the race starting in wet - but drying - conditions, relinquished top spot during the scramble to fit slicks. Richard Philippe briefly took charge as he delayed his stop a lap longer than the AFS/AGR driver, but it was Hildebrand, up from sixth on the grid despite pitting at the same time as Saavedra, who assumed control as things settled down.

Knowing that he needed to act before his team-mate got into a rhythm, the Colombian pounced nine laps later, resecuring the lead and gradually taking control of the event thereafter to add street course victory to his earlier success on the oval at Kansas.

"It wasn't easy, I'm telling you," Saavedra insisted, "This is one of the hardest tracks I've been to - in wet conditions and dry conditions. We also made a pit-stop, things we're not use to, but the #27 crew did an awesome job. I'm very happy for AFS/Andretti Green Racing. Points are points, but we're thinking about the championship and that's what is important."

The victory was AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing's fourth of the season, with Hildebrand completing a 1-2 after claiming his sixth podium finish in nine starts in 2009, but the American revealed that he had been battling a familiar street circuit problem from the early laps.

"We definitely salvaged a good finish out of that, and I really owe it to the boys in the pits," the points leader admitted, "They really did an awesome job with the pit-stop, but I had hit the wall early and bent the rear suspension pretty badly - like five or six laps into the race - so I was just hanging on for most of the race.

"I thought maybe I could stick with Sebastian because I was sort of keeping up with him for most of the middle segment, but the thing just started going haywire on me through the fast stuff. So, after I almost wrecked the car a couple of times. I just backed off and thought we'd get it to the finish. It was good for the boys, and we'll see what we've got in a couple of weeks in Edmonton."

Hinchcliffe tied his season-best in third place after his Sam Schmidt Motorsport team had been out-fumbled by the AFS/AGR at the pit-stops.




Related Pictures

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Sebastian Saavedra celebrates Indy Lights victory in Toronto   [pic credit: IRL/Haines]
Marco Andretti in pit lane (Photo by: Joe Skibinski for IndyCar Media)
Will Power (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
AJ Foyt attends opening day for the Indianapolis 500 at IMS (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
AJ Foyt at IMS (Photo by: Jim Haines for IndyCar Media)
Conor Daly on track (Photo by: Bret Kelley for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti and father/team boss Michael Andretti at IMS (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
IMS logo on a Firestone Tire (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti enters Turn 1 during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves sets up for Turn 1 during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Pit lane comes to life during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Marco Andretti in the cockpit (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya crosses the line of bricks (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya flashes across the Yard of Bricks during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: John Cote for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves (Photo by: Chris Jones for IndyCar Media)
Juan Pablo Montoya enters Turn 1 during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Will Power leads teammate Simon Pagenaud into Turn 1 during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Chris Owens for IndyCar Media)
Helio Castroneves on course during the Oval Open Test at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo by: Dana Garrett for IndyCar Media)

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