Monza: Jose Maria Lopez race report

Wing failure costs Lopez second place at Monza Jose Maria Lopez lost what would have been the best result of his rookie FIA F3000 season when he was pitched into a spectacular accident after his front wing fell off. Fortunately he escaped with...

Wing failure costs Lopez second place at Monza

Jose Maria Lopez lost what would have been the best result of his rookie FIA F3000 season when he was pitched into a spectacular accident after his front wing fell off. Fortunately he escaped with a shaking a bang on the head, but a potential second place was lost.

The Renault Driver Development squad member qualified an excellent fourth at Monza, despite finding the car very different from the Renault V6 he drove at the same track last year.

'I was quite happy with fourth. I had never been with this car to Monza, so I had to work a lot with the braking points - we were braking much earlier with the V6. I started very quietly in free practice and then tried to brake later, and I was improving. In qualifying I had a good lap without mistakes, and at the limit of the car.'

Jose made a great start and got past Robert Doornbos, and then took Raffaele Giammaria in the chicane. That left only champion Tonio Liuzzi ahead, but on the third lap the CMS entry's front wing fell off and jammed under the front wheels on the approach to the Ascari chicane.

With no steering and no front brakes, Jose slid into the tyre wall at high speed. Although he had made contact with Giammaria on the first lap, he didn't feel that the earlier incident had led to the failure.

'We had a touch but I honestly don't think it was because of that. It was just a touch, and I touched with the front wheel, so I think it was a defect with the wing. It's happened to a couple of guys before. I'm quite disappointed because I had a very good start and did a very good move in the first corner. I was catching Liuzzi and I was feeling good with the car. It's just disappointing because it's the last race and I wanted to do well.'

Despite the frustrating end to the season Jose secured sixth place in the championship, and is the second best-placed rookie. He is now looking forward to running in the new GP2 series in 2005.

-renaultf1-

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Series F3000