Jose Maria Lopez believes he could have challenged for a podium finish if he had not encountered radio issues in the second half of Saturday’s Marrakesh E-Prix.
The Dragon Racing driver, in his debut with the Jay Penske-led organization, recorded the team’s first points of the season in sixth, marking an impressive turnaround for the American squad following a disastrous outing in Hong Kong last month that led to Neel Jani’s departure.
“Before coming here I didn’t expect it,” Lopez told e-racing365. “I only had Hong Kong to watch and the team struggled.
“I’m happy to be back and really happy for the way it went to take some points.
“It was a strong result, I think we could have gone better in the race.”
Having qualified fourth, the Argentinean held his position prior to the mid-race pit stop, where he dropped to sixth.
It was then when Lopez also lost communication with the team, which created the “worst nightmare” possible for a driver, according to the three-time WTCC champion.
“I had no information of energy and had no information about how many laps were remaining,” he said. “So I was a bit lost.
“I think it was the worst nightmare you could have, not having radio in this car is just hard. It could happen and that’s why we prepare for that.
“But the pace was there. I could have finished ahead of Jean-Eric Vergne and [Nelson] Piquet. I was already in front of them before the pit stop.
“I could have done the last two laps flat-out because I had a lot of energy left. But I didn’t know.”
Despite the strong result, Lopez has remained realistic for the remainder of the season, admitting the Penske EV-2 may not be as well suited to more traditional Formula E circuits as the semi-permanent Circuit Moulay El Hassan.
“We’ll see what happens in other circuits,” he said. “I think the team is struggling more in the small circuits because of the way they’ve done the powerplant.
“I don’t have much information about the car; I don’t know how the powerplant works in different circuits. We’ll keep working and see how it goes.
“We’ll see how it goes in Chile and [go] step by step. I don’t think we can think about winning but today we could have thought about a podium; it was possible.”