Anguish for Friesacher as Lopez storms to sixth place
Jose Maria Lopez produced a strong drive to storm through from 13th position on the grid to finish in sixth place in the seventh round of the FIA Formula 3000 International Championship at Hockenheim in Germany today.
Lopez, who drives for the Coloni Motorsport-managed CMS Performance team, was hampered by a lack of grip during Friday's qualifying session, but set the second fastest lap of the race as he stormed through the field to take sixth.
"Lopez produced a great performance and drove very well to finish sixth," said team principal Paolo Coloni. "He was the quickest driver on the track after the tyre stops and it was a good result after a bad qualifying session."
While Lopez celebrated his sixth place finish, Patrick Friesacher failed to take up third position on the grid in the lead Coloni Motorsport car after a stone knocked off his engine's flywheel as he completed the installation laps prior to lining up on the grid. Despite extensive efforts by the Coloni mechanics, the fault could not be rectified in time and he was unable to start.
Can Artam, in the second Coloni car, fought his way through from 17th to 10th although Mathias Lauda, driving the sister CMS entry, was forced to retire from the race after being tipped into a spin by Nico Verdonck with 10 laps of the race remaining. He had earlier been delayed when Raffaele Gianmaria and Fernando Monfardini collided.
"It was like a nightmare for Patrick because he had a strong chance today to take the win and deserved a good finish after he qualified so well," said Coloni. "It was a shame for Mathias that he did not finish but I am pleased for Can because he went a second quicker in the race today than the best time he managed in qualifying."