Rosberg Extreme are the very first Desert X-Prix winners! Extreme E’s first finals day promised plenty after two enthralling qualifying sessions yesterday suggested there will be entertainment when the cars finally go wheel-to-wheel, and the final day was absorbing.
The brand new motorsport series is making its debut in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, one of five extreme environments over the year chosen not only for the remarkable landscape – think the Amazon rainforest and the Arctic ice – but also for their susceptibility to the climate crisis as the series aims to raise awareness as it goes. The fully electric SUVs went head to head here in a semi-final between the top three from qualifying (two final spots up for grabs), a second semi-final called the ‘crazy race’ between the next three from qualifying (one final spot), before a shoot out between the bottom three simply to decide their points ranking.
And it was Nico Rosberg’s XR team who won the inaugural Extreme E race in the Saudi Arabia desert, beating Lewis Hamilton’s X44 and Andretti United. Follow all the reaction below.
Championship standings after Desert X Prix
- Taylor/Kristoffersson (Rosberg XR) 35 points
- Loeb/Gutierrez (X44) 30
- Munnings/Hansen (Andretti) 28
- Sainz/Sanz (Sainz) 26
- Giampaoli Zonca/Bennett ( Hispano Suiza) 20
- Ahlin-Kottulinsky/Button (JBXE) 17
- Hurtgen/Ekstrom (ABT Cupra) 13
- Leduc/Price (Ganassi) 12
- Chadwick/Sarrazin (Veloce) 8
Catie Munnings brings it home to make the final
It’s Andretti United who join X44 and Rosberg Extreme in the final - Hispano Suiza and JBXE will be exiting here but for the two latest entrants to Extreme E, a lot to be pleased about this weekend after getting themselves into competitive positions and with no major issues.
Andretti are in the lead away from the driver switchover and Catie Munnings looks safely and set to claim the place in the final
Getting into the cars at the switchover: European rally champion Catie Munnings, who did an absolutely heroic job bringing the Andretti United car back on three wheels after a puncture in qualifying one yesterday, Christine Giampaoli-Zonca for Hispano Suiza and Extreme E tyre tester and Swedish touring car driver Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky for JBXE.
Bennett has been able to hang on behind Hansen - it’s an absolutely mega job by the Bristolian Hispano-Suiza driver; the gap is only five seconds, which could easily be made up when there’s been the driver switchover.
And the Crazy Race is now on
Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen takes the lead off the line while Oliver Bennett gets the jump on Jenson Button and leaves the former F1 champion in the dust. Bennett is in hot pursuit of Hansen, though - looks like there could be more of a race on, here.
There’s a long run to the first corner - what you might as well think of as a straight, on circuit racing. That’s pretty much a drag race, if you can call careening through thick sand that, to see who can get ahead into turn two and get that massively important clean air, rather than being in the sand tunnel behind.
The starting drivers are Oliver Bennett for Hispano Suiza, Timmy Hansen for Andretti United and Jenson Button is taking the first run at the course for his team.
Next up: the Crazy Race
This is the second race that can qualify you for the final. These are the fourth, fifth and sixth place qualifying cars, so we’ve got Andretti United, Hispano Suiza and Jenson Button’s JBXE team ready to race. The winner will go through to join X44 and Rosberg Extreme in the final.
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