Lopez storms to Spa podium as Friesacher fights back to fifth
Jose Maria Lopez proved one of the stars of the race as he sped to a podium finish in the penultimate round of the FIA Formula 3000 International Championship at Spa-Francorchamps in Belgium today.
Driving for the Coloni Motorsport-managed CMS Performance outfit, Lopez was less than two seconds behind runner-up Vitantonio Liuzzi, who sealed the F3000 title with his second place finish. Liuzzi spent the 2003 season learning his trade in the category by driving for Coloni Motorsport.
Coloni-run Patrick Friesacher charged through the field from 10th place on the grid to finish fifth, setting the second fastest race lap in the process. The points' haul means Friesacher can still clinch third place in the championship standings when the FIA F3000 series concludes at Monza, in Italy, in two weeks time.
Mathias Lauda finished in 14th position in the second CMS car although Chanoch Nissany was denied his first F3000 finish when gearbox problems forced him to retire.
"It was a very good result for Jose Maria and Patrick did incredibly well to come from 10th to finish in fifth place," said team principal Paolo Coloni. "We did the quickest pit stops today and had a very good strategy. It's just a shame the race was started behind the safety car [because of a brief rain storm] as I think we could have made some more places at the start and possibly have challenged for victory.
"It's a shame for Chanoch because he drove well without making any mistakes. But these things can happen," Coloni added.
The FIA Formula 3000 series concludes at Monza on September 11.