06 Jul 20
25 Jun 20
Oliver Rowland’s 2019/20 points haul is leaps and bounds ahead of where he was at the same point in his full debut campaign. Two DNFs have been replaced by top ten finishes season-on-season, and, with race wins his aim in Berlin, he’s eyeing still further improvement.
The Nissan e.dams man produced a strong opening weekend in Diriyah. In a pair of extremely competitive qualifying sessions for Rounds 1 and 2, he managed to be there-or-thereabouts while narrowly missing the Super Pole cut-off. However, he was able to make up good ground in both encounters, leaping from eighth to fourth, and eighth to fifth respectively.
His performance went a good way towards reassuring the Japanese marque as to the efficacy its off-season powertrain development programme, and its underlying race pace.
“We didn’t quite get the results we were chasing on the opening weekend, but the positive takeaway was that we had great pace,” said Nissan’s global motorsport director, Michael Carcamo at the time. "Seb (Buemi, Rowland's team-mate) was tremendously unlucky to be hit from behind while running in the top two, and Oliver had two great races – the potential was very promising.”
Santiago proved to be a different story, however. A slippery track surface threw a cat amongst the pigeons, and despite securing the fastest lap of the race, Rowland managed only 17th after damaging his front wing and serving a drive-through penalty.
“I had potential to score good points,” said Rowland. “My mistake in qualifying put us on the back foot, and then the contact with another car in the race dropped us down the field. I’m putting this race behind me and concentrating on Mexico.”
That immediate switch of focus onto Mexico City served the Brit well as he recovered from a mid-pack qualifying slot to seventh and more good points, though his team-mate’s podium showed there was more there to be had.
On to Marrakech, and another points score – with Rowland sealing ninth, ensuring he’d enter the lockdown period inside the standings top ten and on-course for his best finish to-date. A season prior, in the Japanese manufacturer’s first Formula E season, he’d managed just one top-ten finish and had retired twice come Round 5 – the progress has been tangible.
Olivier Driot, Nissan e.dams team principal left Marrakech encouraged: “We are scoring consistent points, qualifying well and moving in the right direction in the championship.”
On to the here and now, Rowland feels there’s more to come from the nine-day six-race showdown in Berlin, after laying solid foundations in the opening five rounds. With 176 points still for the taking, he won't rule out a title charge.
“It’s going to be very exciting,” he said. “All the drivers will have missed being out on a race track. The first one will be a mixture of excitement and getting reacclimatised with the situation, and adapting to the challenges in Berlin.
“We’re looking pretty good coming into the final six races. I don’t worry so much about not being ‘sharp’ to be honest.
“I’ve always been able to adjust quickly and jump into a car last-minute and do a good job so it’s not a concern even after such a long time out of the car.
“The team has been working hard at the factory and they’ve been developing things back at base. On the software side, there are also a lot of things that were able to be done from home for sure. We’ve had chance to look over everything, improve and optimise things.
"Nothing’s out of reach for us. The last three races last season we jumped from nowhere right to the top of the championship."
“I haven’t been able to jump back into the simulator yet because of the situation in the UK but we’re looking pretty good and everything I’m hearing sounds positive.
“I wouldn’t say I’ve been 100 per cent happy with the season so far but I’ve scored points at nearly every race. So, it’s not been a bad start if not perfect.
“That said, there are definitely lots of things for me to improve on – especially in regards getting everything spot on over the course of a whole weekend.
“Nothing’s out of reach for us. The last three races last season we jumped from nowhere right to the top of the championship.
“So, to start with, we’ll be looking for good sessions and I absolutely want to be winning some races in the last six. That’s my target.”
06 Jul 20
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