ALULA, SAUDI ARABIA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – Rosberg X Racing drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor were victorious in the Extreme E Desert X Prix, the inaugural event for the series.
Kristoffersson lined up in the middle of the front row with pole-sitter Timmy Hansen to the right for Andretti United and Sebastien Loeb starting third on the left.
Hansen got a great launch to take the early lead while Kristoffersson and Loeb battled it out for second. Heading into turn one Kristoffersson caught Hansen and swept wide and undercut Hansen exiting the turn to take the lead.
The three-time FIA World Rallycross Champion then wasted no time at all in stretching his legs, building a 30-second advantage before making the mandatory driver change.
Taylor took over for the second and final lap and maintained the gap as Andretti’s Catie Munning started chasing her down. Taylor crossed the finish line 22-seconds ahead to claim the historic victory for Nico Rosberg and his team.
“This is insane,” said Rosberg, team founder and CEO. “I’m so thankful to the whole team for the effort put in this weekend, which has been intense and really on-the-edge. Everything has come together so well and everybody has worked together so well. We have a fantastic team of engineers and mechanics, who prepared perfectly for this first weekend with so many unknowns, and Molly and Johan produced some phenomenal driving.”
The drivers are used to getting the credit but one of the drivers said the key to the win was the team.
“We had some minor issues but we came here very well-prepared, which made our life so much easier out on-track,” said Kristoffersson. “This sport isn’t only about the drivers; it’s about the team giving us the tools to do the job. With such a limited amount of track time, you need to have confidence that the car will do what you ask of it – and the Rosberg X Racing guys did an amazing job to give Molly and myself such a great car.”
Taylor said she just didn’t want make a mistake.
“You have to be fast when it counts, be smart when it counts and take the big moves when it counts, and for it to all come together when it mattered was really special,” said Taylor. “Huge thanks to Johan – his opening laps were just insane – and the team has done such an incredible amount of work behind-the-scenes. It’s pretty cool to be part of this journey at the start of something that I think has an amazing future.”
The man behind the series was excited to see vehicles on the track.
“We’ve worked so hard on this for many years, and finally everything has come together this weekend,” said Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E. “It really has been beyond my wildest expectations. If I had written a script for the perfect weekend, I could not have come up with anything better than what we have witnessed these past two days – I’ve never seen such extreme racing in my life.”
Agag was also thrilled to see men and women competing side-by-side in equal equipment.
“This first race weekend will have a huge influence on how Extreme E evolves, and one of the reasons I feel so proud is that we have built this platform where female drivers can shine like they deserve. What we have seen from them here is extraordinary – some incredible talent and courage – and overall, I think it’s fair to say we have really made our mark. I’m over the moon.”
The next Extreme E race, the Ocean X Prix, takes play May 29 & 30 in Lac Rose Senegal.
- Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 2 laps
- Andretti United (Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) +23.73s
- X44 (Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez) +1m38.09s
Frustrating Extreme E Debut For Chip Ganassi Racing
AlUlA, SAUDI ARABIA (Pittsburgh Racing Now) – This past weekend’s inaugural Extreme E Desert X Prix was a nightmare for Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing.
Extreme E is the radical new racing series which uses electric SUVs competing in extreme environments around the world that have already been damaged or affected by climate and environmental issues.
CGR’s problems started on Friday when driver Kyle LeDuc went off course during a shakedown run, damaging the teams Hummer EV.
Kyle LeDuc had a big off during Shakedown 2 this afternoon! Luckily he's ok!
— Extreme E (@ExtremeELive) April 2, 2021
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) April 2, 2021
The Ganassi team handled the setback by working all night and repairing the vehicle for qualifying on Saturday.
A power steering issue during qualifying had driver Sara Price wrestling the Hummer to a seventh place starting spot, which meant the team would not advance to the final.
The 7th place starting spot relegated the team to the shootout. At the start, Price initially pulled ahead by using her Hyperdrive power boost, before ABT CUPRA XE’s Mattias Ekström repaid the favor on the exit of Turn One to snatch the lead. The mandatory driver change after lap one saw Price hand things over to LeDuc.
Once the driver switch was complete, LeDuc set about chasing down Claudia Hürtgen, but as the pair approached the finish line, LeDuc made contact with his German rival and the pair both ended their weekend beached in the desert.
Extreme E’s social media captured the crash and highlighted the challenge of the racers who were not in the lead – visibility:
— Extreme E (@ExtremeELive) April 4, 2021
The disappointing weekend put CGR in an early Championship hole but Price says the team will rebound.
This team will work harder. 🏋🏻♀️
This team will work smarter. 🧠
This team will work together. 👏🏻@SaraPriceMX lays down the details from the #DesertXPrix as we look to Round ✌🏼 in Senegal.@ExtremeELive | @GMC | @Segi_tv pic.twitter.com/mMSbZbppKc
— Chip Ganassi Racing (@CGRTeams) April 4, 2021
- Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 35 points
- X44 (Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez) 30 points
- Andretti United (Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) 28 points
- ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team (Carlos Sainz / Laia Sanz) 26 points
- Hispano Suiza XITE Energy Team (Oliver Bennett / Christine Giampaoli Zonca) 20 points
- JBXE (Jenson Button / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky) 17 points
- ABT Cupra XE (Mattias Ekström / Claudia Hürtgen) 13 points
- Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price) 12 points
- Veloce Racing (Stéphane Sarrazin / Jamie Chadwick) 8 points
The next Extreme E race takes place May 29 & 30 with the Ocean X Prix in Lac Rose Senegal.