Formula E

Rowland deliberately lets Günther past & narrowly misses out on Nissan home win: "Had to relinquish"

Timo Pape

Timo Pape

It could have been the perfect home story: After his pole position at Nissan's home race, Oliver Rowland led the Formula E debut in Tokyo for a long time and had a chance of victory right up until the final lap. In the middle of the race, however, he had to save energy and let E-Prix winner Max Günther pass him, as he revealed after the race.

Oliver Rowland was hard to beat in Japan. After his impressive pole position in qualifying, he also looked like the sure winner for a long time in the race and controlled the Tokyo E-Prix from the front. On lap 25, however, the Briton lifted surprisingly early on the straight before turn 16 and deliberately let Günther past!

"Unfortunately, my energy targets dropped significantly after the safety car, and the lap time delta is very aggressive here," Rowland explains. "I missed my energy targets so much that I couldn't go on like that. If I had stayed in that position, I would probably have been swallowed up by several more drivers."

"I knew I had to relinquish something," says Rowland, explaining his reasons for swapping places: "In Formula E these days, the slipstream is pretty effective. I tried to manage my energy." He wanted to drive close behind Günther in order to be able to attack again later. But nothing came of it.

"Maybe I should have taken the slipstream a little earlier"

Günther was clever afterwards and really pushed hard to stay in front during his second Attack Mode activation. "Of course, I tried to regain the lead, but he was able to pull out a gap to stay in front. He did a solid job," said Rowland, praising the German.

"When I was behind him, the car was running really well. Then it was just the typical Formula E strategy games. I just wasn't in the right place at the right time," said Rowland. On the final lap, he made several more attacks and bared his teeth at Günther's Maserati, but could not find a way past.

"That was the kind of situation where you ask yourself whether you would do everything the same again," said Rowland self-critically. "Maybe I should have taken the slipstream a little earlier. But I think we got the maximum out of it."

"I think the big bosses will be happy"

After his third podium in a row, Rowland speaks of a "good result", even though the first Gen3 victory for Nissan still hasn't materialised yet. "If someone had offered me second place beforehand, I would have snapped his hand off. I'm just a little disappointed that I didn't win."

"But I am grateful," admits Rowland. "I've got a fantastic car and three podiums in a row. If I had been offered that at the start of the season, I would definitely have taken it. The team was just being set up at that time and now we have a really good package and one of the best cars."

So Rowland ends a very special week for Nissan with a strong haul of 21 points in total (plus one more from team-mate Sacha Fenestraz). "I think the big bosses will be happy with what they've seen. We could hardly have wished for more."

"It was really special with the people here in the pits and the expectation. The support from Nissan was incredible. It's been an amazing week - now I'm going to sleep for a few days," said Rowland.

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