IndyCar: Luca Filippi gets two-weekend deal with RLL at Houston, Toronto

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One of the impact part-timers in 2013 will be back in part for the 2014 Verizon IndyCar Series, as Luca Filippi has been confirmed in Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing’s second car at the Houston and Toronto doubleheader weekends.

That will make four starts for Filippi this year to go along with the four he made in 2013 with Bryan Herta Autosport, at Mid-Ohio, Baltimore and the two Houston races. At Houston Race 1 last year, he started eighth and finished 10th.

Filippi was supposed to drive with RLL in 2012 but could not put a deal together at that stage. He was also a front-runner for BHA’s seat this year, before that went to Jack Hawksworth.

“I’m extremely excited to join Rahal Letterman Lanigan Racing because there is a lot of respect between myself and Bobby,” said Filippi, 28, about team co-owner Bobby Rahal. “We have been trying to find a way to work together for a long time and to finally have it happen is a great feeling. I really love the IndyCar Series. Since I first drove the car and expe­ri­enced the atmos­phere of the series, I have loved every­thing about it and can’t wait to get back in a car.”

Added team co-owner Rahal, “We tried to get Luca into the team a few years back and even went so far as to build a seat but we were unable to find the funding. In the mean­time he went to Bryan Herta’s team and showed what he can do in the few races he ran for them. He has been successful in GP2 in Europe, amongst other series, for a number of years so I don’t think there is any ques­tion that he has the pace to run towards the front. On top of that, he is a real gentleman and we are looking forward to working with him and seeing how he can help the team progress.”

The RLL second car was driven by Oriol Servia for four races, at Long Beach, Barber and the two Indianapolis races.

Filippi’s RLL entry will feature asso­ciate spon­sor­ship for the program will come from IMPCO and Fight SMA.

IndyCar Grand Prix of Alabama final practice report

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Will Power posted the fastest lap in the third practice session for the Grand Prix of Alabama with a speed of 122.953 mph.

Rookie Robert Wickens (122.552 mph) was second fast, foretelling a continuation of his incredible rookie season.

Scott Dixon (122.237), Ryan Hunter-Reay (122.231) and Alexander Rossi (122.106) rounded out the top five.

The practice was interrupted several times for incidents. 

Ed Jones spun off track in turn five after locking up his brakes with 30 minutes remaining in practice three. He was able to drive back to the pits under his own power.

With 20 minutes still on the clock, Jordan King took a trip into the fence after posting a fastest lap of 121.753 mph. He sustained substantial left side damage to his car and came back to the pits on the hook.

“I’m annoyed really,” King said afterward on the live stream at IndyCar.com. “I slightly locked the inside front, then just stayed off onto the grass and that was it. But I wasn’t really even pushing that hard.”

With two minutes remaining, Charlie Kimball lost power and pulled off the track, bringing an end to the practice session.

Dixon also had an off-road excursion.