Silverstone: Coloni Motorsport race report

More points for Lopez and Friesacher Jose Maria Lopez, driving for the Coloni Motorsport satellite team CMS Performance, got his points-scoring account back on track in the sixth round of the FIA Formula 3000 International Championship with a ...

More points for Lopez and Friesacher

Jose Maria Lopez, driving for the Coloni Motorsport satellite team CMS Performance, got his points-scoring account back on track in the sixth round of the FIA Formula 3000 International Championship with a fourth place finish at Silverstone today. Patrick Friesacher, in the lead Coloni-run car, recovered from a slow pit stop to take fifth in his second race of the season for the Italian team, while Mathias Lauda held off a late-race challenge by Yannick Schroeder to claim 13th place.

Lopez was narrowly beaten off the starting grid by the fast-starting Tomas Enge and slipped to fifth when Friesacher got a better run out of the final corner and overtook on the approach to the ultra-fast Copse Corner after four laps. The pair had briefly exchanged positions between the Brooklands and Luffield corners.

Despite coming under pressure from the closing Esteban Guerrieri, Lopez held onto fifth until the mandatory pit stops. He resumed in fifth and soon became embroiled in a battle with Guerrieri, the pair running wheel to wheel. At the half distance mark, Lopez got a better exit out of Copse and shot ahead on the run to Maggotts to claim fourth.

Friesacher was on Enge's tail when the pair made their tyre stops. But such was the Austrian's determination to resume ahead of his rival, he engaged first gear too quickly and let his foot slip off the brake, which caused the rear wheels to spin as his mechanics tried to complete the tyre change. To heighten Friesacher's frustration, the car's engine stalled and the resulting 13-second delay dropped him to ninth.

Friesacher's progress once back in the race was rapid and he passed Alan van der Merwe and Tony Schmidt before closing on the battle for fifth between Guerrieri and Raffaele Gianmaria. A number of attempts to pass were rebuked by Gianmaria but he grabbed fifth exiting the Abbey chicane when Gianmaria and Guerrieri collided.

Austrian Mathias Lauda, the son of three-time World Formula One Champion Niki Lauda, enjoyed a lengthy battle with Nico Verdonck and fended off the closing Schroeder to take 13th, which will give him a confidence boost ahead of the next round at Hockenheim in Germany on July 24 following his roll in the last round at Magny-Cours.

Team principal Paolo Coloni commented: "It was a shame for Patrick because he was very quick and consistent today. I am happy because I think we have found the consistency we have been looking for so we have something to take to the next race at Hockenheim when I think we will be strong."

Coloni had left Silverstone early to fly to Mugello to watch Toni Vilander claim two pole positions for tomorrow's Italian Formula 3 rounds. Vilander, driving the Opel-engined Lola-Dome, was 1.6s and 0.8s quicker than the rest of the field respectively.

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Series F3000