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Coloni persuade Filippi to stay for Hungary
28 July 2011
Scuderia Coloni have confirmed that Luca Filippi will drive for the team at this weekend's rounds at the Hungaroring in Budapest, following his success with a win and a third place at the Nurburgring last week.
"After the great weekend we had together in Nurburgring, splitting from Luca would have been a real pity, so when we saw that having him with us also in Hungary was possible, we went for it," said team boss Paolo Coloni.
"Pushing Italian talents has always been our philosophy," he added. "We believe that having an all-Italian pairing at high level can be good for all the Italian motorsport."
Filippi's participation in this weekend's GP2 round had been in doubt because the deal to compete for Coloni had originally been for one race only, and this weekend's round in Hungary conflicts with the corresponding Auto GP event in Germany - a series in which Filippi has a big championship lead driving for Super Nova Racing.
"I'm really happy to be on the GP2 grid also in Budapest, and I have high expectations for the races because in Germany the car was very quick and I like Hungaroring a lot," said Filippi. "On the other side I'm a bit sorry because I will lose the clashing Auto GP round in Oschersleben."
No further GP2 and Auto GP race weekends clash for the remainder of the season, so there is no reason on that account that Filippi should have to miss any races in either competition for the rest of 2011. Filippi is currently eighth in the GP2 drivers' championship having been 16th before the Nurburgring success, and is just 10pts off claiming third place in a tightly-packed midfield battle behind series leaders Romain Grosjean and Giedo van der Garde.
"From Valencia I'll be back in Auto GP to fight for the title," he confirmed. "That is still a very important target for my 2011 season. As I have an 18 points gap on my closest rival there, I'm sure that I will still be in contention after this weekend."
Filippi's closest rival in Auto GP is Ombra Racing's Kevin Ceccon, the 17-year-old Italian driver who formerly occupied the Coloni #19 in GP2 now taken by Filippi, after original driver Davide Rigon was injured in the first GP2 sprint race weekend of the season in Turkey.
Ceccon opted to stand down from GP2 in order to focus on his Auto GP campaign, which led to the driver mini-reshuffle that saw Filippi switch from the GP2 Super Nova team to the Coloni car while staying with Super Nova in Auto GP, and it's clear that the situation had been a tricky one to resolve to everyone's satisfaction in the circumstances given the conflicting demands of the two competitions involved.
"I have to say thanks also to Super Nova, because they understood how important this chance [with Coloni in GP2] can be for my career," acknowledged Filippi as he looked forward to a second outing with Coloni this weekend, alongside team mate Michael Herck. The team won in Hungary in 2007 and consequently have high hopes that Filippi will be able to maintain the momentum he gained from his Nurburgring victory.
Filippi's old GP2 seat at Super Nova is currently filled by Northern Ireland driver Adam Carroll, who himself had made an impressive one-off appearance in the Auto GP competition at the last round in Donnington with Campos Racing, qualifying in pole position for the first of the weekend's two races and finishing as the runner-up in second race.
Carroll finished in the points in fifth place in his first sprint race in GP2 for over three years last weekend at the Nurburgring.
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