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Tristan Vautier takes pole position for his Indy Lights debut at St Petersburg

Tristan Vautier Schmidt Indy Lights St Petersburg 2012

Tristan Vautier took pole position for his Indy Lights debut around the streets of St Petersburg on Saturday.

The French rookie headed a 1-2-3 for Sam Schmidt Motorsports, with Esteban Guerrieri just edging out Oli Webb for second on the grid.

British driver Webb held the advantage in the early part of the session before Vautier pinched the top spot with a 1m06.7229s lap. That time held until a spin by Bryan Herta Autosport's Troy Castaneda triggered a brief red flag, and when the session recommenced with six minutes left, Vautier immediately improved his time to 1m06.4550s.

Both Guerrieri and Webb tried to respond, with the latter setting his best time on his final lap, but both fell just short of the 2011 Star Mazda champion and ended up 0.17s and 0.18s adrift respectively.

Series returnee Sebastian Saavedra ruined the Schmidt team's chances of a 1-2-3-4 by edging Victor Carbone out of fourth place in his AFS/Andretti Autosport entry.

Pos  Driver               Team/            Time        Gap
 1.  Tristan Vautier      Sam Schmidt      1m06.4550s
 2.  Esteban Guerrieri    Sam Schmidt      1m06.6326s  + 0.1776s
 3.  Oli Webb             Sam Schmidt      1m06.6370s  + 0.1820s
 4.  Sebastian Saavedra   AFS/Andretti     1m06.8106s  + 0.3556s
 5.  Victor Carbone       Sam Schmidt      1m06.9208s  + 0.4658s
 6.  Gustavo Yacaman      Moore            1m06.9255s  + 0.4705s
 7.  Carlos Munoz         Andretti         1m06.9267s  + 0.4717s
 8.  Alon Day             Belardi          1m07.3331s  + 0.8781s
 9.  Juan Pablo Garcia    Jeffrey Mark     1m07.3868s  + 0.9318s
10.  Joao Horto           Juncos           1m07.5563s  + 1.1013s
11.  Jorge Goncalvez      Belardi          1m07.7097s  + 1.2547s
12.  David Ostella        Moore            1m08.1153s  + 1.6603s
13.  Troy Castaneda       Bryan Herta      1m08.1257s  + 1.6707s
14.  Armaan Ebrahim       Fan Force        1m08.8404s  + 2.3854s
15.  Darryl Wills         Hillenburg       1m08.9874s  + 2.5324s
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Vautier strikes first blow in St Pete