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Houston IndyCar: Luca Filippi amazed by practice pace on return

Luca Filippi, Rahal Letterman Lanigan, Houston IndyCar 2014

Luca Filippi is keen not to read too much into his strong Houston IndyCar double-header practice day performance, although he admits that he was surprised by his own pace.

The Italian is making his first appearance of the year in Rahal Letterman Lanigan's second entry, and his first outing in an IndyCar since he rounded out a four-event programme with Bryan Herta Autosport in Houston last year.

After a quiet morning session on Friday he improved to third-fastest behind Simon Pagenaud and Ryan Briscoe in the afternoon, and told AUTOSPORT that he was cautiously pleased with his start to the weekend.

"Obviously on one side it's what I want, because I'm here to compete and go fast," he said.

"But expecting third-fastest this afternoon, especially after this morning [when he was 12th], would have seemed a little optimistic.

"Sure we are doing alright, but that doesn't mean we'll be in this position [on Saturday].

"Simon was 0.4s faster, so there's obviously room to improve. The rust is not gone yet."

Filippi confessed to some nervousness about the amount of physical training that he had been able to log in preparation for two full-length races around the Houston circuit, and said that his main priority is to capitalise on Saturday.

"Sunday, we have to see if I can still hold a steering wheel," he said.

"You can train all you like, but racing is so different.

"And also, I am doing the Sky Sports [commentary] job, and that is taking so much time away from training.

"So I have to take the most out of Saturday first, and then take things from there."

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