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Formula E ace Rowland wins BRDC Esports Monza race

Nissan Formula E driver Oliver Rowland triumphed in a thrilling second round of the BRDC Esports Championship at Monza.

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Almost 40 drivers, including members of the BRDC SuperStars and Rising Stars programmes as well as legends like three-time Indianapolis 500 winner Dario Franchitti raced Formula 3 machinery around Monza in a continued effort to raise money for the National Health Service.

27-year-old Rowland qualified second but for the second-round running he was able to jump the polesitter on the run to Turn 1 on the opening lap, on this occasion the polesitter was 2017 British Touring Car champion Ash Sutton.

Unlike at the Silverstone opener, Rowland was able to avoid making any mistakes, and after fending off an early challenge from Sutton, he built a small race lead.

Sutton’s challenge for the race win unravelled when he ran wide on the exit of the first Lesmo and dropped to sixth place, allowing Rowland to run unchallenged on his way to his maiden win in the series. Reigning Porsche Carrera Cup GB champion Daniel Harper took his second successive podium with a second-place finish ahead of Sutton.

Sutton was able to recover to the podium after a stunning double overtake on guest star Richard Westbrook and Rising Star Ben Tuck into Turn 1. He gained third when British GT Championship racer Sandy Mitchell disconnected from the race due to internet woes. 

Sportscar veteran Westbrook collided with FIA Formula 3 driver Enaam Ahmed into the Parabolica on the final lap and was sent wide while Ahmed scooped fourth place.

44-year-old Westbrook was initially forced to settle for fifth place ahead of Tuck, and BTCC ace Tom Ingram who charged from 19th on the grid to finish in seventh place.

Tuck and Ingram were promoted when Westbrook picked up a post-race penalty for that collision which dropped him down to 18th place.

Aston Martin factory driver Jonny Adam was seventh with the previous two winners of the Aston Martin Autosport BRDC Young Driver Award Tom Gamble and Johnathan Hoggard finishing in eighth and ninth places respectively. 

Hoggard, who won the opening race at Silverstone, ran wide at the second Lesmo whilst fighting for third place on the opening lap and dropped to 13th place.

After recovering back into the top 10, Hoggard spun on the exit of Ascari and was forced to mount another comeback to take two points.

Ex-Formula 1 driver and current European Le Mans Series racer Will Stevens took the final point in 10th place.

It was another difficult race for touring car legend Steve Soper, who spun at Ascari and ended up triggering a multi-car pile-up.

The third round of the season will take place the virtual Spa-Francorchamps circuit next Thursday at 7pm BST. 

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Series Esports
Author Josh Suttill
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