3 October 2011
Ceccon pips Filippi to Auto GP title
For a proud Italian, there was nothing better for Ceccon than managing to seal the deal on home ground. "Clinching the title in Italy made everything even more special, with so many people coming to Mugello just to support me," he said. "They were great in cheering me after the race: the roar they made at the prize giving when I raised the Trophy is something I will never forget, as well as the faces of the Ombra Racing guys that worked so hard to give me a top car."
Ceccon's decision to clear the decks and concentrate on Auto GP had paid dividends: conversely, Filippi's decision to skip the Auto GP round at Oschersleben (which clashed with the GP2 weekend at Hungary) had proved to be the decisive factor.
Now, though, Ceccon is once more looking toward the bright lights of the GP2 feeder series for his next challenge. He was at last week's testing session at Jerez, actually alternating with Filippi in the Coloni ahead of their Mugello showdown. Fortunately it wasn't as awkward as it might have looked from the outside, as it seems that the two Italians have developed a real bond over the course of the year.
"Filippi, in particular, is a real friend: he helped me a lot at the start of the season, never saying no if I needed any help. Yesterday, instead of being pissed off for losing the title by just 3pts, he was happy for me. And at night we went out together to celebrate, together with Tambay, who is another really nice guy."
Ceccon got his four-round outing in GP2 this year as a last minute replacement for Colini's lead driver Davide Rigon, who was injured in a crash in the first GP2 sprint race of the year at Turkey. Despite the unexpected opportunity, Ceccon was sensible enough to know that Auto GP was the more realistic proposition for him in 2011 - and that the four weekends he drove in GP2 this year will be invaluable in helping him secure a full-time feeder series ride in his own right next year.
"After doing my job on track in the best possible way, it's up to the people who work with me to find the right backing for the next aim," said Ceccon, before admitting: "That obviously is GP2.
"Romain Grosjean, who won the Auto GP title before me, this year clinched the GP2 title in dominant fashion," he pointed out. "Obviously that wouldn't be my aim next year: if I manage to get to GP2 at just 18, I will have one full year to learn without pressure, and that would be mega, really."
The gleam in the eye at the prospect of GP2 and that mention of Renault's Grosjean speaks volumes about Ceccon's ultimate ambitions: a spot on the F1 grid by 2015 or so.
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