Toronto: Series qualifying notes

SAAVEDRA EARNS FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POLE TORONTO - (Friday, July 10, 2009) - Sebastian Saavedra claimed his second pole of the season - and his fifth front-row start -- with a quick lap of 1:04.8311 seconds (97.792 mph) early in the session in...

SAAVEDRA EARNS FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POLE

TORONTO - (Friday, July 10, 2009) - Sebastian Saavedra claimed his second pole of the season - and his fifth front-row start -- with a quick lap of 1:04.8311 seconds (97.792 mph) early in the session in the No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers Inc. car for AFS Racing/Andretti Green Racing.

Local favorite James Hinchcliffe claimed his second front-row start with a final-lap time of 1 minute, 4.8889 seconds (97.366 mph) on the 1.755-mile, 11-turn course that overtook Vision Racing's James Davison (1:04.9416) for second position.

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Four drivers entered in this weekend's Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto have competed on the circuit in other open-wheel series, including Oakville, Ontario native James Hinchcliffe. The other drivers who have previously raced on the Exhibition Place street circuit are: J.R. Hildebrand, James Davison and Richard Philippe.

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-QUALIFYING NOTES:

* This is Sebastian Saavedra's second pole of the season and the second pole position of his career. He previously won the pole at St. Petersburg 2.

* James Hinchcliffe matched his career-best start of second. He also qualified second at Long Beach.

* James Davison qualified third, marking his fourth top-five start this season and best road/street course start this year.

* Richard Philippe matched his career-best start of fourth. He also qualified fourth at Long Beach.

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FIRESTONE INDY LIGHTS POST-QUALIFYING QUOTES:

SEBASTIAN SAAVEDRA (No. 27 Automatic Fire Sprinklers, Firestone Indy Lights pole winner): "It's great. I'm very happy. We found a setup and that's what it's about at this track. It's really bumpy and it's really slippery and you'll never get close to a perfect car. I'm really happy for my team. They did a terrific job putting the car together. I'm looking forward to the race."

(About turning his luck around): "The last two races we haven't been very lucky, but that's the past. I'm just taking the positives from them. I learned a lot from both of those races. Now I have to be prepared as possible for tomorrow and get the best result I can."

JAMES HINCHCLIFFE (No. 7 Hinchtown/Sam Schmidt Motorsports, qualified second): "It was a good day but it didn't come easy. We struggled a bit at the beginning of the session and then we had a spin in Turn 3 when I went in a little too hard. I was so furious when they brought out that yellow flag because that means that you lose your quickest lap. I knew from there it would be a bit of an uphill battle. The Sam Schmidt guys gave me a great car. We were able to put together two laps, almost identical, at P2 speed. So not only was it fast, it was consistent. It's a great way to start. It's great to be here in Toronto. I have to thank all the fans, the team and my friends and family that show up for this race."

RICHARD PHILIPPE (No. 37 Palm Beach International Raceway, qualified fourth): "I'm happy considering two to three days ago I didn't even know I was going to be here so starting fourth is pretty good. The car feels really good, I was driving really hard and trying to push it a lot. I was really pushing and I'm happy - tomorrow's a long race so we'll see how it goes."

STEFAN WILSON (No. 19 Walker Racing, qualified fifth): "I'm semi-happy with it. It's a lot more competitive here than it was at Watkins Glen. We got the car handling a bit better around this street track. We were quite quick in the practice this morning. The first practice we were third and second practice fourth so I really thought we could be in the top three. We were close at one point on getting in the front row - that's where I really wanted to be."

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Firestone Indy Lights officials have disallowed the qualifying time of #28 Daniel Herrington for failing post-qualified inspection. Herrington will start from the back of the field.

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Indy Lights season continues with the Firestone Indy Lights Grand Prix of Toronto on July 11 at the streets of Toronto. The race will be telecast at 11 p.m. on July 13.

-credit: irl

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Series Indy Lights
Drivers Sam Schmidt , James Davison , Daniel Herrington , Richard Philippe , James Hinchcliffe , Sebastian Saavedra , J.R. Hildebrand