Filippi: "Title is still within my reach"
It's a really magic moment for Luca Filippi: with an amazing second half of 2011 with Scuderia Coloni, the Italian driver took second place in the GP2 overall classification, ending the season on a high with a win on home soil in Monza, performances that made him the driver that everybody wants for 2012. Luca is now ready to add even more "magic" to this wonderful year: this weekend he will be in Mugello to challenge for the Auto GP title, and while he knows that starting at -15 from the lead it won't be easy, he is ready to give all he has, as he explains:
"Some could think that after ending the GP2 season on such an high note I could be lacking motivation, but it's a completely wrong assumption. I really want this title and I will race as hard as I can to clinch it. What happened in GP2 has only positive sides: it gave me great confidence, and knowing that with Scuderia Coloni I'm part of a long term project gives me a great feeling. You know sometimes you race with a team and, even if performances are good, at the end of the season it's just 'bye bye'. With them it's different, we have a project together, it's a new feeling and I like it".
So, no negative effects on your Auto GP title fight...
"Not at all, and I would say that this indeed is a great morale boost looking to the Auto GP finale. I want the title and I will race as hard as I can to clinch it, but despite this I'm really relaxed. From outside it may feel a bit odd, but there are good reasons for that. The fact is that I'm confident I can make it, and on the other side I have nothing to lose compared to my rivals. 15 points adrift from the leader I am the outsider, I have nothing to worry about, I just need to push as hell!".
So no strategy at all, just "pedal to the metal"?
"I can't afford any strategy, really. The Auto GP points system still gives me a chance, but in order to make it I must win Race 1, there's no other way to make it. And still it couldn't be enough, because a 15 points gap is a lot. The first aim will be a front row qualifying, and then winning the first race. If I manage to do this, my job for Race 2 will be boasting a good recovery to get other good points.
What do you expect from your rivals?
"If you look at Ceccon's season, he was never the best on raw speed, but had an incredible consistency, with many podiums and point finishes. If he manages to get another weekend in his style, he will win the title, no matter what I do. If I were him, I would look for a P6 or P7 finish in Race 1, then going for the win or a podium in Race 2. Anyway, the starts have been one of his flaws this season, and this could get him in trouble, so you never know. Afanasiev, on the other side is the driver who improved the most during the season, and now he seems to be the quickest guy out there. He doesn't have a lot of experience in Mugello and this could be an advantage for me, but I can't count on this because both him and Ceccon had some laps on F.3 and F.Abarth respectively to get acquainted with the track. It was a good move from them, and it shows how much they want this crown. If you ask me, I believe that Ceccon is the favorite anyway. He's ahead with margin, and he has the wider range of 'acceptable' results, it's something that we shouldn't forget".
Looking at the maths there are eight drivers with still some title chances. For those behind you in the standings it will be an even harder task, but their will to go for it could be an help in mixing the cards a bit...
"That's right. As I told you, my only aim is to win Race 1. I have no other options than staying ahead of everybody else but if I manage that, having the drivers behind me involved in a close fight is what I want. The more drivers can 'steal' points from my rivals, the better for me. In this perspective, I think that the Lazarus pair and Crestani in particular could be the ones to watch. They're often quick, and they will push for a great result in their home race".