Nissan Formula E Team Takes Pole and Podium in Maiden Tokyo E-Prix

April 8th, 2024 by

Photo credit: Nissan

Oliver Rowland took pole and second in the inaugural Tokyo E-Prix, as the Nissan Formula E Team continued its impressive performance as the ABB FIA Formula E World Championship made its way to the team’s home nation. Rowland and the team were feeling strong ahead of the series’ Japanese debut, coming into the event off back-to-back podium finishes in Diriyah and São Paulo.

The British driver won his second Julius Baer Pole Position of the season after building on his recent successes by going fastest in Qualifying Group A and then setting the fastest time in each of the three Duels segments. Rowland, who had been leading most of the race, slipped to second place in an attempt to conserve energy before going for the win in the last few circuits. He managed to draw close to the leader but was unable to take the lead again, ending up in second place.Sacha Fenestraz made a tremendous comeback to finish 11th following a dismal qualifying effort that saw him start from 20th on the grid and finish just outside the points. The Franco-Argentinean driver moved through the field with some great overtakes and no mishaps. 

Rowland now sits third in the Drivers’ Championship as a result of the performance, while the team is now fourth in the Teams’ standings. Beyond the excitement on the racetrack, Nissan made history during the Tokyo E-Prix by being the first manufacturer to declare its long-term commitment to Formula E, committing to stay in the sport until at least 2030. The company’s Ambition 2030 electrification ambitions are reinforced by this statement, which represents a key milestone.The Nissan Formula E Team will resume its competitive schedule as the league travels to Misano, Italy for the first time for Rounds 6 and 7 of Season 10.

Tommaso Volpe, managing director and team principal, Nissan Formula E Team: “It was an amazing weekend and I’m really proud of the team. We had a lot going on with it being our first ever home race. There were many fans, media and Nissan colleagues in our garage, including our CEO Makoto Uchida, which was great motivation for the team. Everyone stayed focused and delivered a really strong car and a smart strategy, while we could really hear, see and feel the support from the fans in the Nissan grandstands – it was incredible, so a huge thanks to them!

“We were quick from FP1 and Oli performed superbly in qualifying to clinch pole. He controlled the race well, but had to drop to second to save energy in the slipstream. He tried hard to get the position back and it’s a shame that he couldn’t make the move, but P2 is still a fantastic result. The team was disappointed after the race, but this is a good sign as it shows how our mentality is now to win. On Sacha’s side, a small mistake in qualifying meant he started down the order. It’s so easy to clip the wall on a track like this, but he recovered really well. To make up nine positions on such a tight circuit is a great effort. It was probably his best drive of the season and we need to build on it for the rest of the year.

“We’re also delighted with our off-track activities throughout this week we’ve spent in Japan. To announce our commitment to GEN4 at our home race was a very important step for us, and we can’t wait to continue our journey in Formula E while also making steps towards our Ambition 2030 electrification goals.

“This week has confirmed not only how serious we are about our involvement in the sport, but also our potential to be a championship contender. We will keep pushing and I am confident we can maintain this positive trajectory in the upcoming events.”

Oliver Rowland, driver, Nissan Formula E Team: “I’m really happy with the performance and the result this weekend, to take our second pole of the season and third podium in a row is amazing, especially to do it at our home event. Naturally, having led most of the race, I’m a bit frustrated not to have gotten the win. I had to give up the lead to save energy after the Safety Car, and did everything I could in the last few laps to get the position back, but in the end it was just too risky and I couldn’t make the move. The car was great, we knew we had the pace, especially in qualifying. The track was awesome, a big challenge for the drivers and I really enjoyed being out there. It was also amazing to have so much support here, so a big thanks to the Japanese fans for cheering us on!”

Sacha Fenestraz, driver, Nissan Formula E Team: “It was a positive weekend for the team, but unfortunately my mistake in qualifying really impacted our race, as we had a strong pace. I just pushed slightly too hard and clipped the wall going over the bump at Turn 2, which gave me a bit of damage. Despite this, finishing P11 from P20 on the grid is a good showing, especially on a track where it is difficult to overtake. I need to keep building my experience in the championship to eliminate these mistakes and take advantage of the performance we have. Overall it was a great event, the track was very cool and to have the CEO of Nissan here as well as all our Nissan colleagues and fans showing us their support was truly fantastic. Congrats to Oli on another podium and hopefully next time I can join him up there!”

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