Tristan Vautier won his debut race in the Firestone Indy Lights Series Saturday at St. Petersburg. The Star Mazda champion has advanced on the strength of the Mazda ladder scholarship into a seat at defending champion team Sam Schmidt Motorsports.
“It was just an awesome day,” Vautier said. “You are as good as the last race. Next weekend it starts over again. I have a lot to learn.”
His margin of victory was just over a second over teammate Esteban Guerrieri, although it would have been far greater had it not been for a couple of stints behind the safety car that bunched up the field.
The Schmidt squad was looking good for a 1-2-3 until series returnee Sebastian Saavedra passed rookie Oliver Webb just after the final restart to claim third. The fourth member of the Schmidt quartet, Victor Carbone, rounded out the top five.
Further back, the battle for the minor points places ended badly for Carlos Munoz, who was pitched into the wall on lap 29 while trying to defend fifth from Juan Pablo Garcia.
Belardi Auto Racing also had a tough day with both of its entries outside the top 10, Alon Day falling from a strong position after a flat tire late in the race.
Pos Driver Team Laps Status
1. Tristan Vautier Schmidt 45 Running
2. Esteban Guerrieri Schmidt 45 Running
3. Sebastian Saavedra AFS/Andretti 45 Running
4. Oliver Webb Schmidt 45 Running
5. Victor Carbone Schmidt 45 Running
6. Gustavo Yacaman Moore 45 Running
7. Juan Pablo Garcia Jeffrey Mark 45 Running
8. Armaan Ebrahim Fan Force 45 Running
9. Troy Castaneda Herta 45 Running
10. Darryl Wills Hillenburg 44 Running
11. Jorge Goncalvez Belardi 44 Running
12. Alon Day Belardi 43 Running
13. JV Horto Juncos 42 Running
14. Carlos Munoz Andretti 29 Contact
15. David Ostella Moore 21 Contact
16. Rodin Younessi Younessi 5 Handling