Lopez takes strong fourth at Silverstone
Jose Maria Lopez had a strong run to fourth place and another helping of points in the sixth round of the FIA F3000 Championship at Silverstone.
Jose Maria Lopez had a strong run to fourth place and another helping of points in the sixth round of the FIA F3000 Championship at Silverstone. It was the fourth time this year that Renault Driver Development squad member has finished in the points in his rookie season.
Jose Maria was fourth fastest in qualifying with the CMS Performance car, but he started third after Tomas Enge was penalised. He lost out to Enge at the start of the 30-lap event, and was later passed by Coloni colleague Patrick Friesacher.
After the pit stops he found himself in fifth place behind countryman Esteban Guerrieri. The two enjoyed a fantastic battle for several laps before Jose Maria charged past at the entry to the high speed Becketts complex. By then the top three were out of reach, so Jose Maria had to settle for fourth. Once again he was the best rookie finisher.
'I'm happy because when I was able to I pushed and I did my best. But we had a lot of understeer in the car, so we have to check if there's something wrong with the tyres, or maybe the set-up of the car. All the time I was fighting with the car in the slow corners.
'Anyway, I didn't make any mistakes and I did a clean race. My position was maybe fifth today, but I finished fourth, so that's encouraging. My start is getting better - Enge passed me, but he was going to pass me anyway! Esteban closed me a little bit too much sometimes, but it was a good fight. I stayed close and put some pressure to him, and when he did a little mistake, I was there and overtook him on the outside.'
The next round is at Hockenheim on July 24. Jose Maria has never been to the German track, but is confident that he can get a good result.
'It's one of the four tracks I don't know. But Coloni has done very well there in the past. Patrick knows the track well, and I expect to learn from him in the beginning and try to be competitive in the race.'