Rowland says he was surprised by Vergne move

by Scott Douglas

Oliver Rowland says he was taken by surprise by Jean-Eric Vergne’s move on him for the lead of the race during the Sanya ePrix.

The Nissan e.dams driver had led the race from pole, and seemed to have the measure of Vergne around the tight layout of Chinese track.

But during a period of energy saving for Rowland, Vergne was able to dart up the inside and take a lead that he would not relinquish.

Speaking afterwards Rowland said, “It was a good race. I got a good start and led the race for a long time from pole.

“I was struggling for some pace in parts of the race, and I decided to save a little bit of energy, but ‘Jev’ [Jean-Eric Vergne] surprised me a little bit. After the red flag, I was very strong, but I had to take the points today.”

Despite missing on the win the British driver said he was delighted to achieve his and Nissan’s first podium in the series, especially having come close to a top three spot before.

“It was great to take my first podium and come home with 21 points,” Rowland said. “I missed the podium in Mexico, maybe missed the win in Hong Kong and finally today I scored the podium.

“Had I scored those other results I might have taken a bit more of a risk to get the win today. I’m very happy, and everyone on the team and Nissan deserve it.”

Team-mate Sebastien Buemi had a more eventful race, being forced to start at the back after a technical issue.

He made tremendous progress in the race however, and fought his way up to sixth place before a post-race penalty saw him demoted to eighth for making contact with another driver.

Afterwards though he congratulated Rowland on doing an ‘excellent job’.

“My pace today was very good, but when you start at the back, it does make it tough,” he said. 

“It is great for Nissan to score its first podium today. Oliver has been doing an excellent job, and it is great for the team to have two drivers pushing hard and being competitive.”

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