Safety car cost special home victory – Rowland

Oliver Rowland was frustrated to miss out on victory in the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix on Saturday, but admitted that the race’s only safety car played a defining factor.

The British driver started Nissan’s home race from pole position after defeating Maximilian Günther in the final duel by 0.021s, continuing his unbeaten streak in the duels.

He made a strong start to the race and led the opening 21 laps, before a safety car changed the energy targets. The safety car impacted Rowland more than those behind, who had been preserving energy in his slipstream.

It meant Rowland was overtaken by Günther after the safety car period ended, as had he remained in the lead, a podium would have likely been off the cards.

“I was just about managing to under-consume and keep him behind before the Safety Car but I knew their targets in terms of energy were probably building, and unfortunately after the Safety Car the target dropped quite significantly,” Rowland explained.

“The lap time delta here is quite aggressive in terms of how much lap time you lose to the energy target coming down so I was kind of in a position where if I had stayed out any longer then I probably would have been overtaken by more people.”

Win was ‘on the table’

Given that it was Nissan’s home race, Rowland was somewhat frustrated to have come so close to victory.

Despite this, he is in the form of his life, and has now claimed three consecutive podiums and two pole positions in the last three races.

Rowland is unsure if there is much he could have done differently, but ultimately he recognises that Günther did an excellent job

“I think he did a solid job, it’s one of those things that I think if I could do it again I don’t know what I would do differently,” said Rowland. “I think we maximised what we could, but it was on the table which is quite frustrating.

“[On his qualifying pole position] I think there was an element of having the big bosses in the garage, knowing the expectation and it’s just incredible to see all the support for Nissan.”


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