A rookie in the 12 round, electric street racing series, the 26 year-old Penistone race-ace had been a non-finisher in the previous three of the temporary-circuit races.
Things changed at the previous round around Hong Kong where he took the lead at the start, only to be, in typical street race fashion, clouted in a challenge for his lead. The impact caused Rowland to inadvertently switch-on his pit-lane speed limiter that lost him the lead, slowing, he was swamped and eventually was not a classified finisher.
But having had a taste of leading the race transformed Rowland for the 6th race at Sanya, China. “I’ve gained confidence and things have come good”, he announced after clinching pole position.
Using it to his best advantage, Rowland made a superb start and held the lead solidly for 19 laps. That is until Jean-Eric Verne, who had been on Rowland’s tail for a while, made a very, very late out-braking move on him into a tight corner than demoted Rowland to 2nd-place.
Not giving up though, Rowland held his 2nd-place and kept in touch with Verne’s lead, taking the chequered flag just 1.7 seconds away.
Wiping the sweat from his brow, Rowland beamed, “I have to be happy with my first pole position, and my target was to get a podium. But I struggled a bit for pace to be honest, I was a bit of a sitting duck, and I had to be a bit aggressive with my defence. All-round though – all good: we just need to improve on race pace a bit”.
The points from 2nd-place, combined with his 3 points for pole position, moves Rowland up the championship table to 12th position.