Coloni drivers claim top-five starts

Jose Maria Lopez and Patrick Friesacher impressed during qualifying for the last ever FIA Formula 3000 International Championship race at Monza in Italy today (Friday).

Lopez, driving for the Coloni Motorsport-managed CMS Performance team, was fourth fastest, while Friesacher, in the lead Coloni entry, set the fifth quickest time.

"Lopez and Friesacher both set some good times but could not improve their positions on their last set of tyres because they encountered some traffic," said team principal Paolo Coloni.

"I've been very pleased with Lopez this weekend because he did not test here earlier in the season but was immediately in the top three places and this has been important for his confidence," said Coloni.

"Patrick will drive to the maximum tomorrow to keep third place in the championship and it will be very good for the team to get a podium finish here," Coloni added. "I think the race tomorrow will be very interesting but the start and first corner will be vital."

Mathias Lauda was 14th quickest after being hampered by engine problems in the second CMS car. Chanoch Nissany completed the 18-car grid in his Coloni-run machine, which was delayed by transmission failure.

Tomorrow's final round will bring the curtain down on the FIA Formula 3000 series after 20 seasons. The category will be replaced by the new GP2 championship as the official feeder series to the FIA Formula One World Championship from next year.

<pre> Provisional qualifying times (selected positions): 1 Vitantonio Liuzzi (Arden) 1m38.647s 2 Rafaele Gianmaria (Astromega) 1m39.062s 3 Robert Doornbos (Arden) 1m39.203s 4 Jose Maria Lopez (CMS) 1m39.268s 5 Patrick Friesacher (Coloni) 1m39.844s 6 Tomas Enge (Ma-Con) 1m39.394s 14 Mathias Lauda (CMS) 1m40.542s 18 Chanoch Nissany (Coloni) 1m43.800s