It took 24 tries, but Oliver Rowland is finally a race winner in the FIA ABB Formula E Series after leading wire-to-wire in Round 10 at the Berlin e-Prix. Rowland, the Nissan e. Dams entry, qualified on the pole with a time of 1:15.955. Once the lights went out, Rowland was nearly perfect, and not missing a beat. While the action was intense behind him, the English native held on for the victory. Though, Rowland says the victory was not really expected.
‘The team have done a fantastic job, qualifying went really well and the car was amazing during the race,” Rowland said. “To some extent the race was quite smooth for me – I had managed to control the energy really well so I could control the gap if Robin got a bit too close, but I was helped massively by having such a good car beneath me and obviously being well-prepared. I hope everyone at Nissan e.dams is happy as they absolutely deserve this win, I can’t thank them enough. Let’s push tomorrow to secure P2 and keep working to have more of these amazing moments!’
With Rowland picking up his first career win in Formula E, the 45 minute electric race was just as exciting, and it all started in qualifying. At least four drivers did not take time in qualifying, resulting them not classified. This included this year’s champion Antonio Felix da Costa, Lucas Di Grassi, Sebastien Buemi, and Jean-Eric Vergne. All four drivers would end up starting in the back of the field. Meanwhile, Maximilian Günther was docked a three place grid penalty for a incident in Round 9.
When Round 10 got underway, there was a small collision mid-pack through the first few turns. The crash ended up being a moment between Günther, Di Grassi, and Jerome D’ Ambrosio. As a result, Günther received a right-rear tire puncture to his BMW i Andretti machine. The German would have to come down pit road and replace the injured tire.
With the three having issues, problems arose for DS Teechetah’s Jean-Eric Vergne, who was penalized for battery overcooling. Vergne served his penalty on lap 12. On the same lap, series champion Da Costa and Di Grassi got into each other, which caused a right-rear puncture to Di Grassi’s car. Shortly thereafter, FIA penalized Di Grassi for causing a collision. The Audi Sport ABT Schaeffler driver was received a five second drive-thru penalty.
With all of those incidents going on, Envision Virgin Racing’s Sam Bird also had trouble of his own early in the going. Bird ended up pitting for a new front wing after the original one was damaged during the lap 1 incident. Unfortunately for Bird, he could never rebound, and wound up 20th on the grid.
As the time remaining began to wind down, intense battles was seen everywhere in the Formula E field. One of those included a battle for the last podium spot between Rene Rast and Andre Lotterer, late in the going. Both were leaning on each other, but somehow the two drivers managed not to spin out. At the end of the thrilling battle, Rast edged Lotterer for his his Formula E podium. However, with some slight contact, FIA officials investigated the incident but deemed no further action.
Even though Rowland eventually took the checkered flag, there was some confusion between the field, as Rowland and others had seen the last lap but the checkered flag did not fly. This caused the field go around one more time instead of 35 laps, Round 10 ended up being 36 laps.
With Rast getting the best of Lotterer for third, Robin Frijns finished second and earned him his seventh podium of his career.
“I admit that probably wasn’t the best race for those watching at home but for sure we pushed as hard as we could,” Frijns said. “Of course, I would have loved to have secured the win but [Oliver] Rowland was too quick today so I was happy to settle for the podium – my second here in Berlin – and bag more valuable points for the team.”
Official Results following Round 10 at Berlin
- Oliver Rowland
- Robin Frijns
- Rene Rast
- Andre Lotterer
- Alex Lynn
- Neel Jani
- Mitch Evans
- Edoardo Mortara
- Stoffel Vandoorne
- Sebastien Buemi
- Alexander Sims
- Tom Blomqvist
- Felipe Massa
- Nyck de Vries
- Sergio Sette Camara
- Jerome D’ Ambrosio
- Nico Muller
- Jean-Eric Vergne
- Oliver Turvey
- Sam Bird
- Lucas Di Grassi
Not Classified/ Did Not Finish
Antonio Felix da Costa, Daniel Abt, and Maximilian Günther
Up Next: The FIA ABB Formula E Series look to wrap up season six with Round 11 in Berlin Thursday August 12.