Maiden GP' Series podium for Rowland
Oliver Rowland scored his maiden GP2 Series podium with a 3rd-place finish in the main feature race of the championship round 2 on the streets of Monaco.
Starting from 5th position, the Racing Steps Foundation-backed driver made a good start to hold position around the tight opening corners and began to place pressure on 4th-placed Mitch Evans.
As Evans struggled to withstand the Barnsley race ace’s pressure, he resorted to run straight across the chicane to retain the position, leading to stewards handing him a five-second time penalty.
Three Virtual Safety Car periods allowed Rowland to be elevated into 3rd place, and inherit 2nd place when that car pitted.
Needing to make up time to race-leader Norman Nato, Rowland made his pit stop, with Nato responding a lap later, but delayed with a botched pit stop.
He exited just in front of Rowland who, on warmer tyres, attacked immediately but without success.
Following a further Virtual Safety Car period, Artem Markelov led the race by 35 seconds enough for his mandatory pit stop and rejoin ahead of Nato and Rowland.
Markelov defended staunchly from the pair behind to take provisional race victory, with Rowland having to settle for 3rd.
“We had really good race pace today,” Rowland said. “I was being held up by Evans in the early stages but when I got clear air, we were rapid and I was happy to settle for second. At the end, a car came out of the pits so I’m not sure what happened”.
Rowland concluded a successful second weekend of the GP2 Series in the Monaco sprint race.
Making a good start from 6th place on soft tyres in the reverse grid encounter, Rowland lost places in an early tussle.
Saturday’s surprise race winner Markelov took advantage to pass Rowland for 7th, who was determined to regain the position though, driving up the inside of Markelov around Casino.
From there, Rowland staunchly defended his place, with Markelov unable to get by on a circuit difficult to overtake, allowing Rowland to cement a 7th place finish, and is now 7th in the championship.