José María López said he was ‘thinking about the championship’ in qualifying for the World Touring Car Championship in Argentina, where he was battling with newcomer Esteban Guerrieri.
In the end López took pole without a fight, as Guerrieri later had his time deleted for not having respected the pit exit light.
Without that penalty, Guerrieri would have beaten López to pole, having set the pace in his ballast-free Campos Racing Chevrolet.
Despite lacking the outright pace, López insists that he was happy to have inherited pole from his Argentine countryman, and admits that he was thinking about the championship rather than battling with the newcomer.
“I’m very happy,” said López. “Honestly for me it was very important to come back a little bit from the mistakes we did in the last ‘qualies’, especially Vila Real. We worked well and in the end it was a very good result for me and the team.
“I wanted to fight for pole but I also have to think for the championship. In the end the team told me Esteban had been penalised and I took it a bit easier on the lap because I didn’t want to do a mistake.
“Five points is important for me because Tiago [Monteiro] was not in Q3 this time. It was a step forward to our objective [of winning the title]. There is still a long way to go but I am pleased how it went today.”