Hungaroring: Jose Maria Lopez race report

Lopez in the points in Hungary Jose Maria Lopez overcame a qualifying penalty to fight his way into the points during a difficult wet and dry F3000 race in Hungary. Jose Maria Lopez overcame a qualifying penalty to fight his way into...

Lopez in the points in Hungary

Jose Maria Lopez overcame a qualifying penalty to fight his way into the points during a difficult wet and dry F3000 race in Hungary.

Jose Maria Lopez overcame a qualifying penalty to fight his way into the points during a difficult wet and dry F3000 race in Hungary.

The Renault Driver Development team member qualified his CMS Performance entry fifth, and was once again the fastest rookie. However, officials deemed that along with two other drivers he had set his quickest sector time in the earlier free practice session while passing through a yellow flag zone. He was subsequently penalised by the loss of his three best qualifying laps, which dropped him from fifth to 11th, and left him with a lot of work to do in the race.

'In qualifying the car was OK, although I had traffic and couldn't do my best lap. I was still fifth, and I knew that I had a good car for the race. I was fast in the free practice, so I was very motivated. But after the stewards decided to take off my best three laps because of the yellow flag.'

Heavy rain before the start made life difficult for everyone, and in common with most of the other drivers Jose had no experience of racing an F3000 car in the wet.

He lost ground at the start, and then during an eventful race that saw everyone switching from wets to slicks at the compulsory pit stops he fought his way back up to eighth place and the final point.

'With the rain everything was complicated! I tried just to finish the race and score some points. In the rain I had a lot of understeer and couldn't do anything. I went wide a couple of times, and I had to fight a lot with the car, which was really difficult. We didn't have a very good pit stop, but with slicks I was doing good lap times. I didn't push that hard because it was impossible to get to seventh. After this weekend eighth is a good result. I'm not happy for sure, because I expected to be better.

The penultimate round of the series is at Spa on August 28. Jose is familiar with the track from Formula Renault.

'I know Spa very well, and I like it. I hope we can do well. It's a big chance because nobody raced there last year, so we are all in the same condition. If it's not raining and we have a normal weekend we can finish on the podium.'

-renaultf1-

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Series F3000