Nissan e.dams’ Oliver Rowland broke the streak of German winners to secure a debut victory in the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge in a dramatic fifth round on the Tempelhof track in Berlin.
With the simulator racing series dominated to date by German duo Maximilian Guenther and Pascal Wehrlein, the British driver spoiled the party to become the first non-German winner of the championship, in his rivals’ own backyard.
Highlights: Rowland keeps Vandoorne at bay to take victory at Tempelhof
Rowland triumphed in the second round of the BRDC Esports Championship at Monza earlier this week and made it two online race wins in a sensational few days for the 27-year-old.
A fourth-placed finish sees Wehrlein remain top of the driver standings on 82 points, however the German’s lead has been cut to just four points, with Stoffel Vandoorne taking second place on 78 points and Guenther third on 71 points after a crash left him eighth.
Overall Formula E Race at Home standings after five rounds
Image credit: Eurosport
‘Bridesmaid’ Vandoorne still awaiting first victory
Mercedes-Benz EQ’s Vandoorne has shown his sim racing pedigree in various championships in recent weeks but is fast becoming the bridesmaid of the ABB Formula E Race at Home Challenge.
The Belgian has claimed Julius Baer Pole Position in three of the five races staged to date but is yet to record a victory and continued that trend on Saturday with a second-placed finish after leading.
Having started on pole, Vandoorne survived the tricky first corner but lost his lead early in the race to Abt and could never get back in front.
Race at Home touches down at Tempelhof
Having already visited Formula E’s iconic Hong Kong and Monaco circuits, the all-electric series showed-off another of its impressive real-life city locations with a first virtual race at Berlin Tempelhof.
Tempelhof is a now-abandoned airport in the heart of Berlin that has been used as a location for Hollywood movies The Hunger Games and Bridge of Spies. And the track provided a blockbuster race with Rowland coming out on top.
German Daniel Abt was the best of Formula E’s real-life winners in his country’s capital, with the Audi driver finishing third after an impressive lap saw him qualify on the front row behind polesitter Stoffel Vandoorne.
Wolff puts focus on Mental Health Awareness Week
Taking place during Mental Health Awareness Week, Round Five also shone a spotlight on the issue – with ROKiT Venturi Racing team principal Susie Wolff opening-up about this issue in a live interview broadcast ahead of the race.
Despite a hugely successful career as a driver and now team boss, Wolff admitted it had not always been plain sailing and that she faced mental health challenges.
She said: “I have huge respect for anyone who is willing to speak about any challenges they're facing because I think we can all have an element of understanding having all been in a similar situation at some point in our lives. There were times in my career where I can remember being very, very lonely. Because as much as motorsport is a team sport, it's your name on the car and it's up to you to go out there and actually perform and bring the result back.
“I also remember days where there was big success and I was thinking to myself, I should be really happy right now. Why am I not really happy? This is everything I'd be working for. I think true happiness doesn't come from the big successes or the big failures and you need to appreciate the journey.”
Race winner Siggy providing stardust on Challenger Grid
Sim racing expert Kevin Siggy took a commanding victory in the Challenge Race, to strengthen his lead in the race to win a real drive in a Gen2 Formula E car.
The Slovenian lost out to German Lucas Mueller in last week’s race but bounced back with a lights-to-flag victory in his BMW I Andretti Motorsport car from pole position in Berlin.
The win extends his lead in the competition, with Siggy on 102 points, Croatian Petar Brljak second on 70 points and Bulgarian Peyo Peev in at third with 66 points.
Points won by the drivers in the Challenger Grid will go towards where they start on the grid in the final race, rather than traditional driver standings to determine the winner.