Extreme E: Bizarre final fauxpas by Laia Sanz gives Rosberg X Racing the title at Veloce victory in Chile
The German team Rosberg X Racing has won its second championship title in Extreme E. In an extremely curious finale, the Swedish duo of Johan Kristoffersson/Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky benefited from an unnecessary rollover by Sainz driver Laia Sanz. Ahlin-Kottulinsky ultimately secured the title at a snail's pace with a broken front suspension. Victory on the second day at the Copper X Prix in Chile went to Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor from Veloce Racing.
After the win on Saturday, Rosberg X Racing had taken the overall lead from Acciona Sainz. The gap to third-placed team Veloce Racing was so large that it came down to a title duel between Rosberg and Sainz on Sunday. The Andretti team's season had already ended prematurely: After Catie Munnings' serious rollover the day before, the US Americans were unable to take part in the season finale.
Heat 1: Kristoffersson makes up for a bad start
In the first Heat of the day, the five male drivers started first. The launch was won by McLaren driver Tanner Foust. Title favourite Johan Kristoffersson initially had to settle for last place. However, the Swede soon made up the first two positions against Andreas Bakkerud and Fraser McConnell. When braking before the Switch Zone, he even took second place from RJ Anderson.
After the driver switch, RXR's Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky put pressure on the leader Hedda Hosas. However, the McLaren driver held her nerve and brought her narrow lead of less than a second to the finish - a strong performance from the Norwegian. "That was perhaps my best driving performance of the season," said Hosas, who had switched from JBXE to McLaren before the Copper X Prix.
Results: 1st McLaren | 2nd RXR | 3rd Chip Ganassi | 4th X44 | 5th JBXE
Heat 2: Ekström puts Acciona Sainz in a good starting position
The second Heat was all about Acciona Sainz: the Spaniards had to reach the final to keep their title chances alive. In the four-way battle with Veloce, Carl Cox and ABT, Mattias Ekström won the start. Behind them: Timo Scheider, Kevin Hansen and rookie Adrien Tambay. In a thrilling duel for second place, Hansen ultimately prevailed over Scheider, who lost part of his bodywork in a contact. So it went into the Switch Zone.
There were no more position changes in the women's race, although Molly Taylor in second place temporarily reduced the gap to the leaders. However, Laia Sanz took the Heat win with aplomb. Lia Block for Carl Cox finished third ahead of ABT driver Klara Andersson. It was the perfect start to Sunday for Acciona Sainz.
Result: 1st Sainz | 2nd Veloce | 3rd Carl Cox | 4th ABT
Heat 1: Procession with the best ending for Veloce
At the start of Qualifying 2, Molly Taylor got the best get-away for Veloce in the women's quintet. She was followed by Amanda Sorensen, Hedda Hosas, Klara Andersson and Tamara Molinaro. Nothing worth mentioning happened until the cockpit swap, then the men took over.
However, hardly anything happened in the second half of the second Heat either. Kevin Hansen took the win ahead of RJ Anderson. Tanner Foust finished third ahead of Adrien Tambay and Andreas Bakkerud.
Results: 1st Veloce | 2nd Chip Ganassi | 3rd McLaren | 4th ABT | 5th JBXE
Heat 2: RXR just makes it to the final
The second Heat saw a direct duel between title rivals Rosberg and Sainz - also initially with the female drivers at the wheel. Laia Sanz got off the line best and took the lead ahead of Cristina Gutierrez. Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky only found herself in third place. The Swede caught up, but the order remained unchanged going into the Switch Zone. Lia Block hit the rear of the RXR car while braking. Both cars were damaged but could go on.
X44 and Sainz returned to the track side by side - with the better end for Fraser McConnell, who took the lead for X44. Mattias Ekström was now immediately ahead of his title rival Johan Kristoffersson. However, there were no more position changes until the chequered flag: McConnell won ahead of Ekström, Kristoffersson and Timo Scheider.
This meant that both championship contenders went to the final. However, it was very close for RXR: The German team only prevailed against the duos from X44 and Chip Ganassi, who were equal on points, thanks to the best time in the "Continental Traction Challenge".
Result: 1st X44 | 2nd Sainz | 3rd RXR | 4th Carl Cox
Qualifying result at the Copper X Prix (Sunday)
Redemption Race: Chip Ganassi gets the maximum out of it
In the "losers' lap", all four drivers ignited their Hyperdrive right at the start. Anderson was first through Turn 1, but Scheider immediately put him under pressure and attacked. At one point, the German even had his nose in front, but then Anderson was able to pull away. The reason: Scheider broke his front right suspension in a left-hand corner and rolled out. Anderson was the first to bring the CGN car into the Switch Zone. He was followed by Bakkerud (JBXE) and Tambay (ABT).
Sorensen resumed the race with a lead of around seven seconds. While the Chip Ganassi driver widened the gap and ultimately secured victory in the Redemption Race, there was still a duel behind her: Andersson overtook Molinaro with a contact and gave ABT Cupra second place. JBXE finished third, while Carl Cox ended the season with a retirement.
Results: 1st Chip Ganassi | 2nd ABT | 3rd JBXE | 4th Carl Cox
Final: Laia Sanz throws away a safe title!
Now it was all to play for for Sainz and RXR. Mattias Ekström got off to the best start in the final for Sainz Acciona. At the same time, Johan Kristoffersson just managed to avoid a rollover, but dropped to the back of the field. He also suffered damage to his right front wheel, which set him back even further a little later. Kristoffersson came into the pits to have the wheel repaired - the supposed end of all title dreams.
Ekström now only had to finish without making any mistakes, but still continued to drive at full power. As a result, the Swede was the first to enter the Switch Zone. Hot on his heels was Kevin Hansen ahead of Fraser McConnell. Tanner Foust also suffered suspension damage and retired after completely misjudging his braking before the Switch Zone and crashing into the rear of the X44 car. Then it was the women's turn.
Molly Taylor accelerated earlier than Laia Sanz and took the lead for Veloce. Sanz was not deterred by this and chased down Taylor. Things then became confusing and dramatic: Sanz first spun and lost ground. She continued, but spun a second time! She made a third mistake within a few seconds and rolled over - the dramatic end of the race for Acciona Sainz!
While Veloce took victory in the final, the tide had turned: Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky crawled around the circuit with a broken suspension and one lap down - and towards the championship! Due to the retirements of the other teams, everyone just waited until the RXR driver dragged her car to the finish line with the wheels askew. At 20:40 (CET), the time had finally come: Ahlin-Kottulinsky crossed the line, bizarrely clinching the second Extreme E championship title for Rosberg X Racing!
Results: 1st Veloce | 2nd RXR | 3rd X44 | 4th Sainz | 5th McLaren