Sebastian Saavedra's return to Firestone Indy Lights is off to a quick start.
The native of Colombia, who turns 22 on June 2, outpaced the 15-car field in efficient manner in the 40-lap Grand Prix of Alabama at Barber Motorsports Park. It was the fourth victory in the series for Saavedra, driving the No. 27 Team AFS car, and first this season.
Saavedra, starting from the pole, had a comfortable advantage over Tristan Vautier halfway through the race. But Vautier closed the gap to 0.8079 with 10 laps to go as they caught traffic, and a full-course caution for the No. 28 Forsythe/EMC/Barracuda Networks car of Troy Castaneda for Bryan Herta Autosport making contact with the tires in Turn 6 provided Vautier the opportunity to get a run on the Lap 36 restart.
Saavedra got the jump that time, and another full-course caution on Lap 38 for the No. 26 Team Dialy-Ser car for Andretti Autosport driven by Carlos Munoz (running fourth) making contact with the barrier in Turn 12 sealed the deal as the race finished under caution.
"The car was great in the beginning," Saavedra said. "We were able to manage a very good gap on Tristan and at some point we started saving tires. It didn’t work very well. I think when I needed the tires to help me out when Tristan was getting close to me they were not there. Fortunately, it was only five laps to go."