From zero to podium: Oliver Rowland takes Nissan to a new level at the Formula E race in Diriyah
After two races without a single point, Nissan scored a major victory in Saturday's Formula E race in Diriyah: Oliver Rowland drove from pole position to third place, and his team-mate Sacha Fenestraz crossed the finish line in sixth. Nissan was correspondingly satisfied after the race, even if Rowland in particular had hoped for a little more.
"I'm slightly disappointed, the start was a lot of wheelspin and Robin managed to get me," said Rowland, describing how he had to let Frijns pass on the inside and defend against the eventual race winner Cassidy.
This meant that Rowland's pre-race tactics became obsolete after just a few metres. "Our chance today was to control the race (from the front). But we didn't manage to do that," Rowland continued.
When he activated his attack mode, Nick Cassidy also passed the Nissan driver, who subsequently lost a lot of ground. As Cassidy and Frijns had to save energy in the second half of the race, Rowland closed the gap again. However, there was no more attack on the leading duo. Nevertheless, third place can be seen as a great success for Nissan. The team had only made it onto the podium once in the entire 2023 season.
Fenestraz: "We found a good setup"
Sacha Fenestraz also made it into the quarter-finals in qualifying, but retired after a driving error in his first duel. "Yesterday was frustrating, but we managed to work a few things out and turned our pace around. We found a good setup, which was obvious in qualifying," said Fenestraz, who drove flawlessly over the 36 laps on Saturday and finished sixth. "In the race I felt good with the car and it’s positive to come away with a solid points finish."
With a total of 26 points, Nissan achieved its best result since the fifth race at the 2020 Berlin E-Prix. Race winner back then: Oliver Rowland for Nissan - his first and so far only victory in Formula E.
A repeat of this is at the top of Rowland's list of priorities: "I came back to Nissan with the target of winning. We know it's a long road ," he says. "I think the step we made today has been very good, so I'm happy. A great result for the team, lots of points and we'll take this confidence to the next one."
However, it will be a little while before the next race: due to the cancellation of the Hyderabad E-Prix, Formula E will not resume for another seven weeks. The second Sao Paulo E-Prix will then take place.