Lopez charges to sixth at Hockenheim
Jose Maria Lopez overcame a disappointing qualifying session to charge to sixth place in the seventh round of the FIA F3000 Championship at Hockenheim. This was the fifth time that the Renault Driver Development squad member has finished in the points, and the result moved him up to fifth place in the championship, just one point adrift of fourth place.
Lopez had a frustrating time in Saturday's single qualifying session as he struggled with the handling of his CMS Performance car. In the end he had to settle for 13th, which was his worst position of the season to date.
Determined to make up ground in Saturday's race, he got away well and successfully avoided a series of collisions that broke up the field on the first lap. He got straight up to seventh place, and then consistently quick lappery moved him up a place by the end. He was especially fast after the pit stops, setting the fourth best lap of the race.
'In the end it was OK, considering I started from 13th! I made a good start and overtook a few guys on the first lap. After the first pit stop with the second set of tyres I was competitive. I still had a problem with the car starting to have a lot of oversteer, and it was quite difficult to control the car.
'I also had some traction problems in the last sector, which made me lose a bit. We went with less downforce in the back to try to overtake people on the straight, so maybe it was because of that. I got more confident with the car and with a circuit that I didn't know, but anyway we have to work a little bit more. After the bad qualifying session it was a good weekend.'
The F3000 series continues in Hungary on August 14, where once again Jose will have to learn a new circuit.
'I've only seen it on the TV, so it's another track to learn on the Playstation! The team was quick there last year so I think we'll have a good car there. I want to try to finish third in the championship and I am just five points behind, so it could be possible.'