Rosberg's team wins fraught inaugural Extreme E event - The Race
WRC/Rally/Raid

Rosberg’s team wins fraught inaugural Extreme E event

Apr 4 2021

Nico Rosberg’s Rosberg X Racing team took a dominant victory in the first Extreme E round in AlUla in Saudi Arabia with drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor.

The team overcame Andretti United – co-owned by McLaren Formula 1 team boss Zak Brown – and Lewis Hamilton’s X44 squad in the final.

The inaugural event featured a major last-minute format change, heavy crashes and problems with visibility around the dusty course that meant the races were largely decided by the run through the first corner.

Extreme E’s plan to run trial races at the venue in advance were scuppered by COVID-related travel complications, so the planned Saturday qualifying heats were converted into single-car time trials instead.

The first head-to-head racing took place in Sunday morning’s semi-final – in which the top two secured places in the final – and ‘crazy race’, the winner of which completed the three-car final line-up.

Three-time World Rallycross champion Kristoffersson managed to get through the opening corner ahead of X44’s World Rally legend Sebastien Loeb and duly won their semi, with Carlos Sainz Sr and Laia Sanz a distant third behind Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez – all struggling to see in RXR’s dust.

Andretti United had to come through the crazy race after a puncture for Catie Munnings in qualifying. Timmy Hansen broke clear early on in that run-off, in which Jenson Button’s JBXE team and Hispano Suiza were eliminated.

Hansen then made the best start in the final too, but Kristoffersson managed to get ahead at the first corner and then pull away.

X44 struggled with a power steering problem in the final and finished a distant third.

The Saturday qualifying runs had featured two major crashes, starting with one for Stephane Sarrazin that led to rollcage damage that ruled him and Veloce team-mate Jamie Chadwick out for the weekend.

The Abt Cupra team managed to fix the damage from Claudia Hurtgen’s huge qualifying roll, but she was then involved in a heavy collision with Ganassi driver Kyle LeDuc in the shootout race to decide seventh and eighth places.

Ganassi’s time in Saudi Arabia was fraught throughout – beginning with an electrical problem that halted Sara Price early in the shakedown, then followed by a crash for LeDuc later in the Friday running and a host of technical problems.

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