Luca Filippi is back with Scuderia Coloni for this weekend’s GP2 Series double races at Autodromo Nazionale Monza. The team parted ways recently with Stefano Coletti, and when they knew their 2011 driver was available, they jumped at the chance to field an all-Italian lineup at their homeland event.
Prior to the qualifying yesterday, Coloni said “We did a great job together last year.” Filippi proved why he was the 2011 sub-champion as he dominated the race, starting from fourth on the grid to take the feature race victory. Barwa Addax Team Johnny Cecotto ended second followed by and Marcus Ericsson for iSport International.
"Motorsport is a tough sport: you have to win so you are a hero, but if you don't everything gets difficult! The point is that it's a tough season for me because this is my first race, but you know what? I was staying at home, watching these guys racing, and it gave me so much motivation: I came here so hungry, so motivated, I knew it was a chance and I had to take it. I wanted to take it, and this is exactly what I thought it would be: I knew it would be difficult, but I came here for this reason, and I am very proud now," stated Filippi.
In the Italian’s first race of 2012, he did not hesitate at the standing start and challenged pole man for the top spot as he and Max Chilton headed toward Rettifilo. Filippi held first briefly before the Briton took the spot back in the second part of the chicane. Following the top two were Ericsson, DAMS driver Davide Valsecchi, and Cecotto. The four were able to pull away to have their own private battle.
On lap eight, Filippi, Valsecchi, Fabio Leimer, and points leader Luiz Razia entered pit lane for the mandatory pitstop. Just as Chilton and Ericsson were ready to make their stops, Racing Engineering’s Leimer and Arden International’s Razia had contact exiting pit lane. The Briton and the Swede had to pit one lap later, which set up a tightly fought chase for the win.
Chilton exited just as Filippi was coming into the picture; and the battle began anew! However the race leader at that time was Cecotto, and he remained there until the unlucky number 13 reared its ugly head. Leimer was again involved, this time with DAMS rookie driver Felipe Nasr. They clashed at Roggia. Leimer continued while the Brazilian was done for the day. At that point the Swiss racer had his eyes on Nasr’s teammate!
With Filippi holding the lead, Chilton was starting to lose ground. The Briton lost second to Cecotto and two laps later, Chilton lost the final podium position to Ericsson.
Chilton held on for fifth followed by Valsecchi, who now holds the points lead again. Seventh was Jolyon Palmer (iSport International) followed by Stefano Coletti who now races for Rapax.
The inverted grid of the top eight finishers will see Scuderia Coloni's former driver, Coletti, on the pole for the Sprint Race. The Italian race winner slots 8th tomorrow.
Penalties were handed out. Razia and Nasr both picked up five drop on the grid due to causing incidents. Oddly enough the two Brazilians had contact at different times with the same driver: Leimer! Both also did not finish the race today.