Luca Filippi has handed down a message of clear intent to GP2 Asia Series championship leader Davide Valsecchi by setting the fastest laptime in free practice for this weekend’s second round in Abu Dhabi.
The Italian set his best lap of 1:54.146 with his very last run, to deny compatriot Valsecchi the top spot.
The Yas Marina circuit served an immense challenge to the GP2 Asia drivers this evening, as under the spotlights a thick layer of dust and sand made the track slippery in the early running. That said, everyone seemed able to cope with the tricky conditions. Everyone, that was, except for Alberto Valerio, who made one of his trademark errors and launched his Coloni into the barriers at Turn 19.
His crash brought out the red flags for what seemed like an age as the clock ticked down and the marshals made a meal of extracting his broken car.
When the session got going again with an additional 15 minutes added to the now empty clock, Charles Pic was the man on a mission, setting a brace of top times for Arden. His efforts however soon fell behind the duelling Filippi and Valsecchi who traded fastest laps for the remainder of the session.
Valsecchi thought he’d pipped his countryman to the top time with his last lap of the session, but Filippi, who had made contact with Valsecchi’s iSport team-mate Oliver Turvey with just minutes to run in the session, was already on another flyer and stormed through to take first blood.
Behind the Italians Sam Bird continued his fine form in Abu Dhabi with third, ahead of Pic, Perez, Leimer, debutant Bianchi, Rossi, Van der Garde and Ricci.