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Luca Filippi admits he was ‘too soft’ in defending from Josh Files in race one start

BRC Racing Team’s Luca Filippi believes he was “too soft” in defending his lead from pole position, allowing eventual race winner Josh Files through in the opening TCR Europe contest at the Red Bull Ring.

Filippi secured a maiden series pole and believed he had the pace to translate that into victory, but fellow Hyundai runner Files got a marginally better start and out-dragged Filippi into turn one, and eventually completed the move into turn two.

Files did not relinquish the lead thereafter, and Filippi told TouringCars.Net he was disappointed as his starts are usually a strong point, and felt he should have “shut the door” on Files going into turn one.

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“Unfortunately the start wasn’t great, which is a bit of a shame because so far it has always been good for me,” said Filippi.

“His start was better, and I was probably too soft in defending right at the beginning. I should have shut the door better.

“Because if I stayed in front at turn one, it wasn’t going to be possible for him just because we had such a similar pace.

“When you have the same pace within one or two tenths you don’t have the same chances to overtake. So that was his chance, to be in front in turn one and he did it.”

With the safety car then deployed for a multi-car incident at turn two, Filippi believes it “killed the race” as he was hoping to look after his tyres and attack Files in the final laps.

“My chance was to look after the tyres, which I was doing well. I was trying to keep a steady distance, not staying too close,” Filippi explained.

“In fact my tyres were doing very well, he was pushing slightly hard at the beginning. But then the safety car killed the race from this point of view because we didn’t have as many flying laps.

“I think I could have been stronger at the end, and could have maybe tried at the end of the race if he struggled with the tyres.

“That would have been interesting to watch, but unfortunately with not so many flying laps turn one was then the key.”

By virtue of securing pole position, Filippi will start tomorrow’s reverse-grid encounter from 10th position, and feels confident of gaining positions, targeting a top five finish.

“We’ll take as many positions as possible, try to be aggressive because now we are competitive and I understand the way it goes back in the middle of the pack – which is kind of interesting, and messy!

“So let’s try to stay alive in lap one and see what happens. We definitely have the pace to have a top five, that would be very good.”

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