Extreme E News

Desert X Prix 2024: Rosberg X Racing & Acciona Sainz start the final Extreme E season with victories

Tobias Wirtz

Tobias Wirtz

The new Extreme E season starts just as the old season ended: Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky won Saturday's Desert X Prix race for the German team Rosberg X Racing. However, as they only finished fourth on Sunday when Fraser McConnell and Laia Sanz won for Acciona Sainz, the overall standings remain tight after the first of five events this season.

Saturday: Rosberg X Racing gets the season off to a perfect start

On Saturday, the two-time champion team from Rosberg X Racing dominated at will: After victories in both qualifying heats, Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky also won the Grand Final just ahead of McLaren. E.ON Veloce Racing finished third and also scored bonus points for the Continental Traction Challenge, while Acciona Sainz was classified fourth after a rollover of Fraser McConnell.

At the start, McLaren driver Mattias Ekström took the lead with a strong manoeuvre, but lost it again at the beginning of the second lap to his compatriot Kristoffersson.

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Cristina Gutierrez battled for victory after the driver switch. After a collision, the Spaniard even briefly overtook her, but she was 0.167 seconds short of victory at the finish line.

The Redemption Race went to Andretti Altawkilat ahead of the new team of Legacy Motor Club. JBXE took third place, while the second new team, SUN Minimeal, did not make it to the finish line.

With the victory, Rosberg X Racing also took the lead in the overall standings, with McLaren and Veloce behind them on equal points thanks to the bonus points for Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor.

Sunday: Acciona Sainz wins, Rosberg & McLaren lose ground

Rosberg X Racing did not show any weaknesses in qualifying on Sunday either: the team won both heats and thus progressed to the Grand Final with aplomb. Andretti also made it through with a win and a second place. McLaren, on the other hand, was not there: After a second and a third place, the team lost out to E.ON Veloce Racing due to the worse time in the Continental Traction Challenge and had to compete in the Redemption Race, where they were clear favourites after all. Nevertheless, a bitter blow for the title ambitions of Ekström and Gutierrez.

However, Rosberg X Racing was unable to capitalise on this in the final: Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky was the only one not to use the hyperdrive at the start, dropping to last place. Fraser McConnell took the lead ahead of Timmy Hansen, Molly Taylor was in third place but was then overtaken by Ahlin-Kottulinksy. However, the Swede hit the ground with her front end on a jump and lost a lot of momentum and the position to Taylor.

After the driver switch, Laia Sanz held her nerve this time ahead of Catie Munnings, although Kevin Hansen and Johan Kristoffersson closed the gap significantly in the final two laps. Laia Sanz and Fraser McConnell thus secured victory in the Grand Final. The Acciona Sainz team relegated Andretti and Veloce to second and third place, while favourite Rosberg X Racing had to settle for fourth place.

Your R.02 WINNERS! ?

Redemption for @AccionaSainz and @CSainz_oficial as @LaiaSanz_ and @FrazzzMcConnell take the R.02 win in Jeddah ?

?@AccionaSainz

?@AndrettiXE

?@Veloce_Racing pic.twitter.com/gs6l15Xzvk

The Redemption Race beforehand was hard to beat in terms of excitement. After Dania Akeel rolled over immediately after the start, race control stopped the race with the red flag.

As a result, only three cars remained at the restart. Travis Pastrana went into the switch zone in the lead, followed by Timo Scheider and Cristina Gutierrez.

For McLaren, however, the tactic of letting the female driver contest the start of the race paid off: Mattias Ekström pushed past Klara Andersson shortly after the driver switch and closed the gap on Gray Leadbetter, whom he overtook after a tough battle on the final corner of the race. Victory in the Redemption Race and 12 championship points for McLaren, ahead of Legacy Motor Club and SUN Minimeal.

None of the teams that reached the final secured the two bonus points for the fastest time in the Continental Traction Challenge. Instead, Pastrana and Leadbetter were unbeatable here, which is why these went to the Legacy Motor Club team.

Rosberg X Racing retained the lead in the overall standings, but Acciona Sainz was now only two points behind. In third place was Veloce Racing, just ahead of Andretti and McLaren. The next Extreme E event is just under five months away - the European X Prix will take place on 13 and 14 July. Where exactly is not yet known at this stage.

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