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John Filippi believes he had ‘only one chance’ to overtake

John Filippi believes he had just ‘one chance’ to overtake for the victory in the opening TCR Europe race at Monza, where the Sébastien Loeb Racing driver bagged his first win in two years.

Filippi had put his CUPRA comfortably on pole in the morning’s wet qualifying session, almost a second clear of fellow front-row starter Nicola Baldan.

But at the start, Target Competition’s Baldan made a better launch from the line, taking the lead as the duo braked for the first corner.

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The Hyundai driver then led the race until the safety car was required on lap five, and when racing resumed Filippi quickly pounced on his rival, passing with superior drive at the Parabloica corner at the end of the lap.

Thereafter, the CUPRA driver was unchallenged, taking his first win of the season and only the second of his entire touring car career.

“That was fantastic,” said Corsican Filippi. “Yesterday I didn’t expect that, especially after the Nürburgring race where it was very, very difficult for us.

“This morning, I found the car super good, as I said before, and so it was a very interesting race, fighting with Nicola in all the first part before the safety car.

“At the restart after the safety car I only had one chance to overtake him, if not we would be fighting too much with the cars behind as they were coming very fast, I saw that in my mirrors.

“I knew I only had one chance to take this win, and in motor racing it is not always like this, you never know when you will go back on the podium and when you will win another race, so I will just sit back and enjoy this.”

With the win – also his first podium of the season – Filippi has moved up to sixth in the drivers’ standings on 193 points.

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