U.S. Markets closed

Rowland, Nissan agreed on no 'risky' pass attempt on Vergne

Alex Kalinauckas
Rowland, Nissan agreed on no 'risky' pass

Oliver Rowland and his Nissan e.dams team agreed he would not try and make a late pass on Jean-Eric Vergne to win last weekend's ABB FIA Formula E Sanya race.

After quaifying on pole, Rowland led the first 19 laps of what would go on to be a 36-tour race before Vergne ambushed him at the final corner to take first place.

Rowland chased Vergne to the finish - after robustly defending second place from a large pursuing pack and negotiating a red flag and safety car restart - with FE's team radio broadcast picking up a message that he was to "secure the result".

When asked by Autosport if he was disappointed with that call or if he agreed with it, Rowland explained that he had actually asked if that was the preffered course of action.

"No, I asked them [if that was what I should do]," Rowland told the post-race press conference.

"I said 'what do you want me to do? Do you want me to have a go or do you want me to finished second' and they agreed.

"To be honest it was my thinking anyway.

"You know maybe at some point I could have had a brave go but it would have been a big risk.

"And I think [after] last three races [Rowland had retired from the previous events] it wasn't worth it. So obviously just wanted to take the points and celebrate a little bit."

Rowland, Nissan agreed on no 'risky' pass

Rowland clashed with third place finisher Antonio Felix da Costa as he fought to defend his second place in the immediate aftermath of Vergne's move for the lead.

There was contact between the pair during their scrap - and the stewards briefly investigated the incident before deciding no further action was necessary.

As a result of his third place, da Costa, who won the opening race in Saudi Arabia, now leads the drivers' championship by one point over Jerome d'Ambrosio, with Vergne eight points adrift in joint third with Sam Bird.

"I am happy with the points obviously but I wanted a bit more today," he said of his Sanya performance.

"Certainly after following [Vergne and Rowland] I thought we had the car to win.

"But it's not easy to overtake here, you have to take a lot of risk - especially if it's someone like Ollie.

"I knew exactly what was going on his mind. He wanted this podium a lot, and he knew I needed the points.

"So I took a little risk at some point but he defended late. I was already half committed, it could have ended badly but luckily everything worked out.

"I was sitting there a little bit frustrated. I couldn't go forward so i had to make sure I wasn't going backwards. But yeah it is what it is. Im happy with this.

"There's still a long way to go. We are only just halfway now, and we got to make sure we are there in July."

Get unlimited access to the world’s best motorsport journalism with Autosport Plus