Jose Maria Lopez believes a podium finish in Saturday’s Ad Diriyah E-Prix was a “very real” possibility and says missing out on a stronger result “really hurts”.
The Dragon driver started the race from second on the grid and ran consistently in the top six until he clipped a wall and damaged the suspension on his Penske EV-3.
He says that the pace shown by the American team’s could have seen him finish ahead of eventual third-place finisher and former teammate Jerome d’Ambrosio.
“We were there, the pace was there, we managed to pass [Sebastien] Buemi, and we were pulling away from d’Ambrosio, so I was really looking for a podium position today,” Lopez told e-racing365.
The Argentine driver’s incident came with just 14 minutes of the race left to run when he was in third position.
“I tried to go into attack mode, I opened a little the line at the entry and I got on the dust and I was a passenger, the car went straight on,” he explained.
“I touched the wall, bent a bit the rear suspension and then it was a matter of time. It really hurts. You never know how many opportunities you’re going to have.”
Lopez Proud of Dragon Pace
Lopez equalled his best ever starting position for an E-Prix after he was elevated to a front-row start when Tom Dillmann was penalized after qualifying.
He remained near the front of the field until his accident, despite an early overtake from Jean-Eric Vergne on the second lap.
“The front row today, really good pace in the race,” he said. “I really hope we keep it like this, keep the level.
“If we keep it, we’re going to be fighting the next race, so I really hope so. “I know that we’re privateers, the outsiders but the truth today is that we were competitive.
“There were many positives today and we take more confidence now going in to Marrakesh.”