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Firestone Indy Lights: Toronto 100

American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Open Wheel Racing Topics:  Toronto 100

Firestone Indy Lights: Toronto 100

Victor Carbone
Sebastian Saavedra
Gustavo Yacaman
July 7, 2012


THE MODERATOR:  We are joined by our second- and third-place finishers Sebastian Saavedra and Victor Carbone. 
Sebastian has finished in the top five six times this season.  He was today's biggest mover as he started from the eighth position and moved up six places.  He won from the pole in his first start at Toronto. 
Sebastian, how did you like the race?  How were the conditions compared to yesterday? 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  To be honest, it was pretty close to the same.  For sure the rain really cleaned a lot of the good grip out of the track.  That was a key to a good start, taking advantage of the low grip, cold tires.  Well, of course, a lot of people trying to win in the first corner. 
Those first two laps were key to really making a move.  Managed to move up until restart time.  From then on, really good battle against Gustavo and Victor.  Of course, we knew that right away that Tristan was out and I was just picking up points at that point.  Points are the most important thing for me at this moment and it's crucial to finish and finish well. 
Some moment I thought I was able to have Gustavo.  Starting in the back, we needed to start with a really low downforce to really go through.  So very happy to be here, looking forward to whatever comes. 
THE MODERATOR:  Take us through the last few laps.  Did you think you might have something for Gus at the end? 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  At some point he was making some mistakes and I wanted to capitalize on them.  In the end, every time I got close to him, because of my downforce level, I couldn't hold it.  I couldn't brake in the right positions, and he gained on me in the quick corners.  We were back and forth. 
When they say seven laps to go, I knew like I was already risking way too much.  One thing is catching him; another thing is passing him.  I knew the points are more important to me at this point. 
I've won around this place in my first try.  I wanted it again but sometimes you have to be smart. 
THE MODERATOR:  You were in here yesterday talking about the new tire compound for the front tires.  What are your reviews of them? 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  Big thumbs up to the Firestone Firehawk as those tires held through the complete race at a qualifying pace.  We were doing amazing times throughout the race.  None of them ever got up.  So even, if anything, like the middle of the race it tended to go even faster.  That was something very interesting.  It made it even more interesting inside the cockpit because it became a physical race as well.  You knew you had to put 100% into it to really put up with the guys behind and the guys in front of you.  So it was by far one of the nicest compounds I felt in a racing car and looking forward to more development out of these guys. 
THE MODERATOR:  Victor, this is your best finish at Toronto.  Your previous best finish at the track was ninth last year.  Started from pole, moved back to third early, but still a great result for you. 
VICTOR CARBONE:  Yeah, much better than last year, still improving.  I'm still that little bit farther than those guys, always missing by little bit.  We've been constant top five.  So we just improving little by bit.  Hopefully these last races I can improve the last little bit that we need. 
Those two like had a turbo in the car.  He said he had a lower downforce.  I think I had too much downforce.  I don't know if that was the mistake.  We'll look through everything now when we have time and hopefully we improve for the next one. 
THE MODERATOR:  Starting up front, take us through that first lap, what unfolded there. 
VICTOR CARBONE:  I was really surprised they threw the green flag because Esteban was in front of me and I wasn't going to go.  Had some action there with Tristan.  I was able to get everybody back in turn three, which I was actually surprised about it, as well.  After that, just tried to hold those two, but it was really hard.  After that, just keep opening up little by bit.  After that was kind of all by myself. 
THE MODERATOR:  We'll open it up for questions. 

Q.  Talk about how difficult it was today qualifying earlier in the day, struggling with your setup. 
SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA:  At the end strategy works, sometimes it doesn't.  Unfortunately today was a situation that rain came.  We thought that it was going to get dry so we waited and waited and waited.  When we went out, rain came again and we couldn't put those dry times out.  Right away we knew it was going to be a tough qualifying session.  Starting eighth position was not where we expected after an amazing day yesterday. 
Psychologically we've been working very hard together with Michael Andretti to keep a positive attitude.  Right away we said, Hey, it's a situation, one car every seven laps, how hard can it be?  I managed to push the pace a little bit more.  Very aggressive start.  I need the points.  It's a position that after the DNF in Iowa with the mechanical failure we cannot allow any more points to slip away from our hands so I needed to really push and really get up front.  At the end it worked very well for us. 
It's a very good situation to be in, to start pushing the front guys again.  Again, we have always been saying this.  The guy that does the least mistakes out there is the guy that is going to be the guy that wins the championship because it's so tight.  Unfortunately this time it wasn't me.  I was able to capitalize on important points.  Looking forward to Edmonton. 

Q.  We talked about this after qualifying.  You were hoping for the rain.  What were your thoughts coming into the race thinking it was dry?  Were you concerned how your car might handle in the dry? 
VICTOR CARBONE:  Not really.  I just knew my chances in the rain were a bit more than in the dry.  I had a very good first session and we struggled a little bit in the second session yesterday.  That's why I knew I was going to have a good car.  My teammates were always up top in the second practice as well.  I knew where we struggle on practice two. 
I thought we were going to be really competitive on the dry.  I just had a bigger chance on the rain because when you start first on the rain, it's a big advantage, so that's why. 

Q.  Victor, it looked like you made contact with Esteban in turn one.  Can you walk us through that. 
VICTOR CARBONE:  I think he was being conservative, braking early.  I got caught by surprise by that.  I just locked up my tires.  So just hit him.  Wasn't able to stop the car fast enough.  So that's what happened. 
THE MODERATOR:  We'll let Victor and Sebastian go.  Thank you for coming in and congratulations. 
We're joined by Gustavo Yacaman, our race winner.  This is the third career victory and his second win of 2012.  He won at Detroit in June.  This is his best finish in Toronto after a pair of third-place finishes the last two years at the track. 
Take us through the race.  A great finish for you.  How excited are you? 
GUSTAVO YACAMAN:  No, pretty happy.  I did want to get this win because you mentioned the two previous podiums.  You know, the start was a little crazy.  I don't know what was going on.  There were people everywhere.  People in the wall, people spinning.  So, yeah, it was a bit crazy. 
We managed to stay out of the trouble, get our pace, and get going.  Yeah, I mean, first I passed Sebastian out in turn eight.  I don't think he was expecting that.  Then I was able to stay close to Victor and pass him down in three and just check out. 
I was having some gearbox issues.  Going into second was a little bit clunky.  I don't know what the hell was going on.  That's why Sebastian sort of caught me by the middle of the race.  But then I was able to work my way around it and figure out how to make it work, just checked out again.  The car was amazing.  The team did an amazing job.  I'm just really happy to be here. 
THE MODERATOR:  Looking at the past few IZOD IndyCar Series races, they have all been aggressive, a lot of crashes.  Were you expecting that from a Firestone Indy Lights race here also? 
GUSTAVO YACAMAN:  Not really.  Sometimes we're a little bit smarter than those guys.  Especially last race.  I was watching last year's IndyCar race, they were taking each other out down in turn three, trying to go two-wide where you can only barely fit a car.  Our races are not that crazy normally. 
I guess today was a little bit, those first couple laps.  Some crazy people around here, flying by on the restart.  But, like I said, we were able to stay out of trouble, stay cool, stay focused, and came out with the win. 
THE MODERATOR:  You entered this race tied for fourth with Victor in the points.  This is a great jump for you.  How do you think this is going to play into the championship battle? 
GUSTAVO YACAMAN:  There's still a lot of races to go and a lot of points to be decided so, yeah, I mean, I'm not happy being tied for fourth or fifth.  I think we have a strong enough car and team that we should be fighting for the lead of the championship, so we got to keep our heads down and keep winning some races, stay on the podium, try and cut back that lead that those guys have on us. 
Today was good for us with Tristan being out of the race.  Also it's a little tough with 11 cars because at the end you only get like 20 points on 11th.  If there were a couple more cars, there would be more points to be gained when someone has a bad race.  That makes it a little bit tougher. 
We'll see.  A lot of races still to go.  A lot of points to be decided.  I think we have a really good street course car.  We just got to keep at it. 
THE MODERATOR:  Questions for Gustavo. 

Q.  You got three wins in the series, all on street circuits.  What lends your style to your winning on street courses? 
GUSTAVO YACAMAN:  I wasn't very happy with the ovals.  A bit disappointed after getting the pole at Indy and finishing -- well, I didn't end up finishing and got suspended after the race.  Whatever.  It's oval racing. 
It's not that I don't like it.  It's just that the driver doesn't make a difference.  It's like a rollercoaster.  Whatever car you're with, it's the car you got to drive around the whole race.  When I have a good car, I'm up there fighting for the lead like I showed at Indy and Iowa.  When there's a bad car like I had at Milwaukee, there's absolutely nothing you can do about it. 
Yeah, my comfort level, I think it's pretty high on the street courses.  I have more fun on them.  I think something that's very important is that street courses are very, very physical.  Thanks to having a stable ride with all the funding put together allows me to have a lot of free time to just focus on working out and trying to be the fittest guy out there.  I think I've succeeded and I need to keep working even harder because my plan is to move up.  I think there's fitter guys than me in the next level.  I think fitness in the street courses is just massive. 

Q.  Following up on the street circuits, another factor I think in that is learning how to manage your tires.  How long did it take you to learn to have them hold up on a surface like this?
GUSTAVO YACAMAN:  The only place we did tire management was Barber, believe it or not.  Barber was a really tough track for us.  It was really tough on the tires.  It was the only place where actual tire management counted. 
Here we just go flat out.  Everyone's going flat out.  You can't afford to not go flat out.  So at the end of the race, I think our times fell off half a second to 7/10ths.  So the tires do fall off a little bit.  But it's not like we're worrying too much about it because races are just so short. 
I remember at Long Beach it was pretty surprising how -- at Long Beach they fell off a lot more than they fell off here.  We have a different compound here which is a little bit better.  At Long Beach they fell off like almost two seconds.  Long Beach was a 40-lap race or 45-lap race.  Lap 35 we fell off half a second.  Lap 36, one second.  Lap 37 another second.  It was just like really slippery the last three laps.  But it was like for everyone.  They hit a point and, boom, they all went. 
That was the only race that was a little bit tough on tires.  Every other place has been pretty good.  The long safety car also helped on tire life.  How many laps was it, five or six.  When something like that happens, there's not much you're thinking about tires.  If you're running the whole race, you have some space from someone behind, you think about, Okay, I'm going to manage my tires, try not to drag them as much in the fast turns.  When you have someone behind you you're just going for it because track position is more important than tire management. 
THE MODERATOR:  Thanks for coming in and congratulations on the win. 

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