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Rowland: Formula E victory in Tokyo "was on the table"

Oliver Rowland believes that “the win was on the table” in the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix and that just missing out “is a bit frustrating”, having led for large parts.

Oliver Rowland, Nissan Formula E Team, Nissan e-4ORCE 04, Maximilian Gunther, Maserati Racing, Maserati Tipo Folgore

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

The Briton started Formula E’s first-ever race in Japan from pole and he controlled the pace at the front of the field for much of the 35-lap contest.

But the Nissan driver found that he could not save as much energy as those behind in the slipstream, admitting that he was only just able to under consume in the opening segment while maintaining the lead.

It meant that with 10 laps remaining, Rowland was significantly lifting and coasting, allowing eventual race winner Maximilian Guenther to move ahead on the run to the Turn 10/11 chicane, which ultimately proved crucial.

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“I was kind of in a position where if I had stayed out front any longer then I probably would have been swallowed up by more people,” said Rowland, who has now taken a hat-trick of podiums on the bounce and sits third in the drivers’ standings.

“Of course I was trying to keep the lead, but when he [Guenther] had the energy and needed to do the Attack Mode, I knew he was going to try and attack because he needed to pull a gap and take it.

“It’s one of those things, if I did it again I’m not really sure what I’d do different. Would I have to relinquish the lead a bit earlier and stay in the slipstream?

“I think we maximised what we could. It [the win] was on the table, which is a bit frustrating.”

Oliver Rowland, Nissan Formula E Team, 2nd position, lifts his trophy on the podium

Oliver Rowland, Nissan Formula E Team, 2nd position, lifts his trophy on the podium

Photo by: Alastair Staley / Motorsport Images

Guenther had shadowed Rowland for much of the race, and with an Attack Mode still to take in the latter stages, moving into the lead was key to his first victory of the season.

After passing Rowland, the Maserati MSG driver waited two more laps before taking his second activation, having pulled a gap of 1.7s that allowed him to retain the lead and claim the win.

“I surprised him, I guess, into Turn 10, and it just opened up the race for us,” said the German, who has finished in the points in all five races so far this season.

“I tried to pull a bit of a gap but I couldn’t really enough [in the beginning] to take my Attack Mode, and this was key to win the race.

“Obviously it was very tight with Oliver and the Porsche cars, they were coming very fast so both Oliver and me had to defend hard and at the end it paid off.”

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