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Filippi sets early pace in Monza's GP2 practice

Luca Filippi, Coloni, Monza 2011Luca Filippi took the early initiative in the battle for runner-up in GP2 by topping free practice at Monza.

The Italian Coloni driver was one of the pacesetters throughout most of the session at his home event, and after he moved to the top in the final 10 minutes he was never headed.

While Filippi continued to lap very close to his best time, those jockeying for position behind him never looked like taking the top spot.

In the end Rapax's Fabio Leimer, who Filippi demoted from first place, held on to second ahead of 2011 champion Romain Grosjean (DAMS).

The Frenchman did not have a straightforward session, though. In the first 10 minutes he went straight on at both of the first two chicanes, and even had a trip through the Parabolica gravel trap after losing the rear on the way into the final corner.

He did not set his first flying lap until 20 minutes into the session, and his initial effort was only good enough for 10th before he gradually worked his way to the front.

Jules Bianchi (ART) and Charles Pic (Addax) were next up to complete the top five, while the man they are chasing for second in the standings - Giedo van der Garde - salvaged eighth place late on.

Sam Bird made sure all of the main contenders for second in the championship were in the top 10, although the iSport driver's hopes are slim this weekend given that he is 12 points behind Addax's van der Garde.

Pos  Driver                Team                Time       Gap
 1.  Luca Filippi          Coloni              1m32.018s
 2.  Fabio Leimer          Rapax               1m32.128s  + 0.110s
 3.  Romain Grosjean       DAMS                1m32.316s  + 0.298s
 4.  Jules Bianchi         ART                 1m32.496s  + 0.478s
 5.  Charles Pic           Addax               1m32.611s  + 0.593s
 6.  Max Chilton           Carlin              1m32.700s  + 0.682s
 7.  Alvaro Parente        Carlin              1m32.803s  + 0.785s
 8.  Giedo van der Garde   Addax               1m32.866s  + 0.848s
 9.  Luiz Razia            AirAsia             1m32.890s  + 0.872s
10.  Sam Bird              iSport              1m32.899s  + 0.881s
11.  Esteban Gutierrez     ART                 1m32.944s  + 0.926s
12.  Jolyon Palmer         Arden               1m33.115s  + 1.097s
13.  Christian Vietoris    Racing Engineering  1m33.127s  + 1.109s
14.  Michael Herck         Coloni              1m33.155s  + 1.137s
15.  Pal Varhaug           DAMS                1m33.346s  + 1.328s
16.  Rodolfo Gonzalez      Trident             1m33.393s  + 1.375s
17.  Brendon Hartley       Ocean               1m33.410s  + 1.392s
18.  Adam Carroll          Super Nova          1m33.422s  + 1.404s
19.  Fairuz Fauzy          Super Nova          1m33.448s  + 1.430s
20.  Davide Valsecchi      AirAsia             1m33.569s  + 1.551s
21.  Dani Clos             Racing Engineering  1m33.588s  + 1.570s
22.  Julian Leal           Rapax               1m33.628s  + 1.610s
23.  Josef Kral            Arden               1m33.756s  + 1.738s
24.  Marcus Ericsson       iSport              1m33.757s  + 1.739s
25.  Stephane Richelmi     Trident             1m34.935s  + 2.917s
26.  Johnny Cecotto        Ocean               1m39.331s  + 7.313s
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