Extreme E: X44 beats long-term rivals RXR in Sunday race at the Island X Prix II in Sardinia
On the second day of Extreme E competition in Italy, Cristina Gutierrez and Fraser McConnell won the final race. In the process, the X44 duo beat their long-term rivals from Rosberg X Racing, who nevertheless managed to make up important groundd in the overall standings due to technical problems for Acciona Sainz.
As usual, the first part of qualifying took place in two heat races. Not taking part this time was Team McLaren XE. After an accident in the Redemption Race the previous day, the car was too badly damaged to allow it to take part in Sunday's races. Instead, the teams X44, Veloce, Carl Cox, ABT and JBXE met in Heat 1. The best start of the quintet was made by Timo Scheider, who took the lead for Carl Cox at the first corner. Behind them, there were several contacts between Loeb (ABT) and McConnell (X44), which damaged the Jamaican's car.
While still on the first lap, leader Scheider rolled out - the next technical problem with the Odyssey 21 racers in Extreme E. After the driver change, Klara Andersson (ABT) led ahead of Molly Taylor (Veloce) and Cristina Gutierrez (X44). One corner before the finish, however, Veloce also fell victim to technical gremlins: Taylor rolled out and lost second place to Andreas Bakkerud (JBXE). Gutierrez, who had dropped back to 4th place due to a spin, also made up one more place. Andersson, on the other hand, remained confident and recorded the second ABT victory of the weekend.
Result: 1st ABT, 2nd JBXE, 3rd X44, 4th Veloce, 5th Carl Cox
Due to the McLaren retirement, only four cars took part in the second heat. But there was no shortage of drama in this race either: RJ Anderson (Chip Ganassi) reached the switch zone in first place after making the best start, ahead of Johan Kristoffersson (RXR), Mattias Ekström (Acciona Sainz) and Timmy Hansen (Andretti). The Chip Ganassi team, however, only returned to the track in third. Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (RXR) had taken the lead thanks to a quicker pit stop, with Laia Sanz (Acciona Sainz) setting off in pursuit directly behind her.
With a smarter line choice, the Spaniard made up a lot of time against the RXR driver. However, she was only able to make her decisive manoeuvre in the last corner of the race. On the outside, Sanz moved to the outside of Ahlin-Kottulinsky and crossed the finish line just 0.061 seconds ahead of the Swede - the closest finish in Extreme E history! CGR finished third, with Catie Munnings (Andretti) only fourth after a driving error that saw her car end up in a ditch.
Result: 1st Acciona Sainz, 2nd RXR, 3rd CGR, 4th Andretti
THE CLOSEST FINISH IN EXTREME E HISTORY ?@LaiaSanz_ breaking championship records in Qualifying! ?♀️ @AccionaSainz snatched the Heat 2 win from RXR on the Finish Line with a gap of 0.06 seconds! #ExtremeE #IslandXPrix #Sardegna #ACISport pic.twitter.com/tz5JHWfmxD- Extreme E (@ExtremeELive) September 17, 2023
At the start of the second part of qualifying, Gutierrez made amends for her driving error from Heat 1, manoeuvring her racer past the RXR car of Ahlin-Kottulinsky with a skilful manoeuvre into Turn 1. Behind them, Block (Carl Cox) and Munnings exchanged positions before the drivers headed for the switch zone. Leaving the switch zone first was X44 ahead of the two German teams RXR and ABT.
Timo Scheider set off in pursuit of Sebastien Loeb at the start of lap three, while Kristoffersson took up the chase of McConnell. However, they did not manage to change positions: X44 won the first heat. As RXR was given a 10-second penalty for knocking down a waypoint flag, the team was demoted to third behind Andersson/Loeb, while the Carl Cox duo was dropped to fifth due to a 10-second penalty.
Result: 1st X44, 2nd ABT, 3rd RXR, 4th Andretti, 5th Carl Cox
The bad luck for Veloce Racing was not to end in the second qualifying session: After a good start, Molly Taylor tangled with Laia Sanz, causing her to lose control of the car, go off the track and lose a lot of time. Shortly afterwards she ground to a halt with technical problems, but was able to restart the car. Further ahead, Andreas Bakkerud handed over the JBXE racer to his Norwegian compatriot Hedda Hosas as the leader, with Chip Ganassi in second position after the first half of the heat.
In the second part of the race, Anderson began to close the gap on Hosas. The 22-year-old was unable to match the pace set by her teammate in the first half of the heat. With a spirited manoeuvre, Anderson finally pushed her off the track on the last lap and took the lead. Acciona Sainz, who were still in third place at the switch, saw Mattias Ekström retire at the same time with the next technical problem. Shortly before the end, Veloce took over the position - and relegated Acciona Sainz to the Redemption Race.
Result: 1st Chip Ganassi, 2nd JBXE, 3rd Veloce, 4th Acciona Sainz
Qualifying result at the Iceland X Prix II
|Pos.||Team||Points Q1||Points Q2||Q total points|
With a repaired car, Mattias Ekström was able to take part in the "loser's race" a little later. There he met his long-time DTM rival Timo Scheider as well as the brothers Timmy and Kevin Hansen. The latter got the best start and took the early lead. However, after only a few metres Ekström fell far behind: during a jump, the left windscreen wiper of his car was damaged, severely impairing the view from the driver's seat. Defeated and driving slowly, only 4th place was thus possible for the Spanish team - a bitter setback in the title fight.
Veloce Racing took the win in what was, apart from that, an uneventful Redemption Race. On the penultimate lap, Munnings took over second place from Lia Block, who had taken the wheel of the Carl Cox car at the Switch.
Result: 1st Veloce, 2nd Andretti, 3rd Carl Cox, 4th Acciona Sainz
The top five teams from qualifying qualified for the final. "Grid play" voting decided which teams got to choose their grid position first. Chip Ganassi and JBXE took up the X Prix on the outside lanes, while ABT opted to start from the middle, as they had done the day before.
At the first corner, however, it was Fraser McConnell who took the lead with Loeb and Kristoffersson filing in behind. During the course of the first lap, RJ Anderson temporarily slipped past the RXR driver, but he regained the position with a spectacular manoeuvre at the finish line. The former Extreme E champion even passed Loeb a little later - a brilliant driving performance by Kristoffersson! Hosas dropped back in the course of the first lap, leaving Bakkerud with the car in 5th place. At the switch, McConnell led ahead of the RXR, ABT and Chip Ganassi drivers.
The second part of the final race began with renewed drama for JBXE, with a broken suspension bringing Bakkerud's X Prix to an early end. At the front, Gutierrez extended her lead and crossed the finish line in first place. RXR took second position and completed the podium together with ABT. Chip Ganassi Racing finished in fourth position after a rather calm second part of the final.
Results: 1st X44, 2nd RXR, 3rd ABT, 4th Chip Ganassi, 5th JBXE
The Spanish team Acciona Sainz lost points in the overall standings due to repeated technical problems, but remains in the lead after the Iceland X Prix II. The decision in the title race, however, remains open until the season finale, which takes place at the Copper X Prix in Calama (Chile) on 2-3 December.