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Firestone Indy Lights: Edmonton 100

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Edmonton 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Edmonton 100

Esteban Guerrieri
Carlos Munoz
Sebastian Saavedra
July 21, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  We'll go ahead and get started with our Firestone Indy Lights press conference.  We're joined by Esteban Guerrieri who finished third, and Sebastian Saavedra who finished second. 
Sebastian, this is your career-best finish at Edmonton.  Your previous best finish at the track was third in 2009.  It's your sixth podium finish of the season.  You were one of the big movers today.  Talk about today's race and the crazy weather conditions. 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  It was great.  As you say, it was quite crazy.  We experienced this in Toronto when we actually had the exact situation in which we needed to come into pits and change. 
I won that race, so I was really looking forward to do a great job here.  Carlos did an unbelievable job.  He was in a race for himself.  There was not much anyone could do.  Very proud of him, for the team, 1-2 for Andretti Autosport. 
It was a great battle at the start.  The green flag was given early and I took advantage of that.  I think nobody was expecting the grid to come so quick. 
From then on I just focused on doing a good job.  I needed the points.  We didn't have the qualifying as we wanted it.  From then on just start pushing. 
Amazing pit stops from my guys.  We came in and those guys worked with me in Indianapolis in the Indy 500.  They know their way around.  So it was pretty quick change. 
We went up front.  But I think Carlos was able to understand the wet conditions a bit better.  From then on, just start pushing, trying to maintain a good gap to Guerrieri.  About 15 laps to go I saw he was catching me pretty fast and I needed to step up my pace. 
But still a very solid finish for myself, very proud of my team, getting closer each time for the championship.  Two races to go, we can't do any mistakes now. 
THE MODERATOR:  For you, having raced a full season in the IZOD IndyCar Series, you're used to making pit stops.  Did you think you had an advantage in this race because you're used to that already? 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  Yes, for sure.  That pit stop, I think I beat Carlos just from that standpoint, from being able to understand a little bit the dynamics of where to stop, how to stop, how quickly you do it.  I took advantage out of that. 
But again, you know, inside the track, Carlos was the guy to beat.  He was just unbeatable today.  It was a perfect weekend of this season for Andretti Autosport, first me in Barber and now Carlos this time.  Very proud of us.  We got to keep a good job.  We've done an amazing evolution of the car and we've worked very good together, very good. 
THE MODERATOR:  Esteban, this is your seventh podium finish of the season.  You won the race here last year in race one.  Talk about today's race.  You started and finished third.  It's an important day in the points for you. 
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI:  Yeah, definitely is those days that you have to get the best that you have in hand.  Even if I was leading, I felt like I wasn't totally on the pace on the wet.  It took me a little bit.  When the guys were there, try to overtake, I just try to stay away from the mistakes. 
We could see the track was drying quite quick, different to qualifying which took a long time to dry.  All of a sudden we found out like dry track.  The strategy there was crucial.  We saw the Andretti guys pit in one lap before.  I saw them coming out in front of me, so I realized it was time for me to pit for slicks.  Even if the Sam Schmidt, even if they are not used to the pit stops, they kept calm, not to hurry and do a mistake. 
It's important in the points.  In the end we score more points for the championship, which is what matters, and another podium.  So thanks to the Schmidt people.  Congratulations to Carlos and Sebastian for the 1-2.  Let's go for the next one in Three Rivers, which we were very good there last year, so try to repeat again next year. 
THE MODERATOR:  We're also joined by Carlos Munoz who gathered his first win in the series.  He is our only rookie driver to win this year besides Tristan Vautier. 
Big win for you sweeping practice, qualifying and now the race. 
CARLOS MUNOZ:  Was perfect weekend.  Was first in all the session, practice, qualifying and race.  The race was crazy race.  I didn't know if it were to rain or not, but rain is the same condition for all. 
Esteban overtook me in the first lap in the rain.  I say, Okay, keep calm, is a long race.  So I saw he was a little bit not so fast.  I overtook him.  I tried to push.  I was really good in rain. 
Then the track dry up really fast.  So we just had to go in, Sebastian and me, in the same lap.  The guys just did an outstanding job.  Was actually like my second pit stop in my life.  I am not used to pit stops never, so was fun. 
Sebastian was a bit quicker in the pit stop, so he overtook me.  But I understood better than him the track, overtook him, and I could push a lot, make a big gap.  After that in the last 10 laps, I just tried to maintain the gap and to don't do any mistakes. 
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
CARLOS MUNOZ:  When I first went, I just saw him.  He's on rain tires, so I knew with the rain tires he couldn't do anything.  When I was try to overtook him, I just took it easy.  The second time I saw him, I say, Why he still doing this?  Okay, was his strategy, was not working. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
CARLOS MUNOZ:  Actually on the radio before we stop, I say to the team, I didn't know the limit of the pit lane.  They say it was 30 miles.  I was watching the limiter.  I couldn't understand it was 30.  I saw Sebastian, he tried to overtook me in the pit lane. 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  Because you were super slow.  Come one, push, push. 
CARLOS MUNOZ:  So I put a little bit of throttle (laughter). 
I was nervous only because of that because I didn't really know the limiter.  But apart from that I stop really good and was nice. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
ESTEBAN GUERRIERI:  To be honest, the second row is not bad.  You have a line where to look.  If you start in the back, you basically see nothing, like you are blind.  You just follow the wall beside you or you just try to find the blinking light from the car in front of you. 
It was tough, the start.  I got a pretty good start.  When it went green, it was a bit of a crazy start.  I got a run on Carlos.  But I didn't have much spray.  But I'm sure Sebastian did. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  Yes, starting sixth, for sure there was a lot.  But, again, it's a position that you just need to focus, as Guerrieri said.  You have to focus on the guy in front of you, try to predict exactly when he's going to brake.  That's the hardest part. 
Being so wet, we have no experience on being in the wet in this track, we don't know how good the brakes going to be. 
It was interesting.  I managed to take advantage of that.  I needed to be aggressive.  I knew my move needed to come very early.  It worked perfectly from there. 
But it is hard.  You can't see anything.  You just need to take couple of reference points on the track, try to imagine exactly where you are, because at this point you can pretty much close your eyes and don't know.  You really need to feel the track under you.  Every bump, every skid, every little thing is a reference point.  That's what we use to know where we are. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
CARLOS MUNOZ:  I think from the beginning, I'm been really fast.  Barber I qualified third, I was quick all the race, I have some issue with the tires.  Quick in Indianapolis, I was second.  Detroit, second.  Toronto in the practice, I was really quick.  Just the qualifying was not the top one.  Just too much mistake from my part.  I think is more or less normal from my first year.  That's the first year, no?  You learn from the mistake.  I'm trying to do that for next year, no, to win the championship.  No mistakes, just scoring points and points and points.  Now they are 1-2, so I think that's how you need to keep it always in the top and don't do any mistakes. 

Q.  (No microphone.)
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  It's for sure going to be exciting having the opportunity to go to Sonoma more than anything because we don't have any Indy Lights that weekend so we can focus 100% on the IndyCar. 
It's great.  Very thankful to AFS and Andretti for giving the chance.  We're building up something very important for next year.  That's the important thing.  I'm test driver and reserve driver for the team right now.  Having this chance to actually be in the fourth car and work with Hunter-Reay, Hinch and Marcos, who are having a great season so far, it's great. 
From the standpoint of a rookie driver, because I still feel there's so many things I'm learning every day, it's great.  Learn from the big guys, have a great team supporting us. 
We can't leave the Indy Lights on the side.  We still know we have a chance to win the championship.  Right now, even if it's second or third, we're very close.  That's where we need to keep taking points away from Guerrieri, not do any mistakes.  Unfortunately today we did a mistake in the qualifying that should not have happened. 
As Carlos said, it's a learning point.  We just need to keep focusing.  Two races to go, anything can happen.  We just have to be ready for whatever happens. 
THE MODERATOR:  Thank you.

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