Tristan Vautier has struck the opening blow in the 2012 Indy Lights season with a comfortable win around the streets of St Petersburg.
The reigning Star Mazda champion headed a 1-2 for Sam Schmidt Motorsports by beating home Esteban Guerrieri. His margin of victory was just over a second, 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 Oli Webb just after the final restart to claim third.
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.
He was one of two drivers to end their race in the barriers, with David Ostella also crashing on lap 20.
Pos Driver Team/ Result 1. Tristan Vautier Sam Schmidt 58m22.1898s 2. Esteban Guerrieri Sam Schmidt + 1.0391s 3. Sebastian Saavedra AFS/Andretti 45 laps 4. Oli Webb Sam Schmidt 45 laps 5. Victor Carbone Sam Schmidt 45 laps 6. Gustavo Yacaman Moore 45 laps 7. Juan Pablo Garcia Jeffrey Mark 45 laps 8. Armaan Ebrahim Fan Force 45 laps 9. Troy Castaneda Bryan Herta 45 laps 10. Darryl Wills Hillenburg + 1 lap 11. Jorge Goncalvez Belardi + 1 lap 12. Alon Day Belardi + 2 laps 13. Joao Horto Juncos + 3 laps Not classified Carlos Munoz Andretti 29 laps David Ostella Moore 21 laps Rodin Younessi Younessi 5 laps