Jose Maria Lopez finishes in style
The GP2 season wrapped up with a good performance from Argentinean RDD driver Jose Maria Lopez. He finished 4th in the Friday race after a good drive. He ends up 9th in the drivers' championship.
Members of the Renault Driver Development squad had a difference in luck in today's last GP2 2005 race as Jose Maria Lopez finished 4th and Heikki Kovalainen had to retire early in the race.
Jose Maria Lopez started 5th on the grid and after the lights went off had to fight to keep his position. In the first corner, he went wide onto the dirty part of the track. In the fourth corner, he was overtaken by the two ART cars and he finished the first lap in 7th position. Jose fought to stay in contact with the cars in front of him. Premat overtook Lapierre and Jose went right behind the Frenchman pressuring him. As the two drivers fought for position, Lapierre's rear right tyre exploded and Jose gained the position. He then raced to get in contact with Yoshimoto who was just a second ahead of him. Being faster than the Japanese, Jose overtook him easily. Next target: Pantano who resisted for only two laps to the Argentinean's assaults. The RDD driver was then fourth 4 seconds behind Premat. Seven laps before the end of the race, some smoke came from the rear of Jose's car. He lost ground to Premat, but hung in there. Jose finished fourth and took 9th place in the drivers' championship.
Different story for Fin Kovalainen: 6th on the grid, Heikki made a good start but took the outside in the first corner in order to gain a position. In the second corner, he spun and unfortunately stalled. He had to retire. Heikki finished in second place in the drivers' championship.
Jose Maria Lopez: "I tried to overtake Lapierre, but I went wide on the dirty part of the track. Then, the two ART boys overtook me really easily! After that, I overtook three drivers. I'm happy because I was third fastest of the race. When I overtook Pantano, I heard weird noises coming from the engine. I think because of the heat, the engine had some problems. I got lucky In the last four laps, I had problems with my gear box. I couldn't shift down. It was really hard to finish the race. It's a good thing for me to finish the season with two strong races, but I'm still disappointed that I'm only 9th in the championship. At the beginning of the season, I was hoping to be able to fight for the title, but even though we had a good start of the season, we've had too many problems with the set-up of the car. We lost too much time"
Heikki Kovalainen: "I took the outside in the first corner and in the second one I spun and the car stalled After the warm-up this morning, I was quite confident for the race. I knew I could not win, but at least I think I would have been able to overtake some cars and put in some good challenges I'm disappointed to finish the season like this, but I still had a good year. We've been consistent throughout the season and I'm satisfied with my performances even though I made a couple of mistakes when I pushed too hard. But that's motor racing. I'm going back to Finland to spend some quality time with my family and friends. Then I'll come back to France in December to try and defend my title in the Race of Champions."