The COVID-19 pandemic has essentially halted the global motorsports scene but thanks to the wonders of technology, various racing events are now taking place virtually via e-sports.
One motorsport event that is currently taking place online is the Formula E Race at Home Challenge, and Nissan's e.dams Oliver Rowland recently took the checkered flag for the team's maiden victory in round five of the series.
Rowland showed a strong pace after qualifying for 3rd place on the Berlin circuit despite having only just one day of practice on the newly-created Tempelhof track. On the race itself, Rowland got to a quick and clean start which allowed him to battle with Mercedes EQC's Stoffel Vandoorne and Audi's Daniel Abt (who was ultimately disqualified and fired for hiring a pro sim driver in his place).
On lap 7, Rowland made his move and was able to overtake both Vandoorne and Abt at the hairpin. This allowed him to maintain the lead and ultimately be victorious in the virtual Tempelhof airport racetrack. The stylish overtake and team's first virtual win pay tribute to "Go Nissan Day”, celebrated each year on May 23. In Japanese, the date 5/23 is pronounced Go (5), Ni (2), San (3). Rowland was ecstatic after landing the first-place victory in Berlin as the last few weeks have been disappointing.
"Finally, I get to wear the winner's cap! I've been putting quite a lot of effort into my sim racing practice recently, so it's nice to get a good result today. I was disappointed after the last race in Hong Kong, and today there was big pressure from the driver behind, but it was a good race. I really enjoyed it, as nerve-wracking as it was - and all for such a good cause too,” said Rowland.
As for Sebastien Buemi, Rowland's teammate, Buemi was able to qualify in 11th place and managed to finish in 12th. “I finished 12th and qualified 11th, and this is my best qualifying so far. So, I am getting better each time, and I am looking forward to next week as I think I could be in the mid-pack of racers, or even better,” added Buemi.