EXTREME-E - The teams looking for a repeat in Sardinia

EXTREME-E - The teams looking for a repeat in Sardinia

30.06.2022: Having won the opening round in NEOM in convincing fashion, Rosberg X Racing (RXR) are once again the team to beat as Extreme E heads to Sardinia, Italy, next week for the Island X Prix, co-organised by the Automobile Club d'Italia and Regione Sardegna.

Having won the opening round in NEOM in convincing fashion, Rosberg X Racing (RXR) are once again the team to beat as Extreme E heads to Sardinia, Italy, next week for the Island X Prix, co-organised by the Automobile Club d'Italia and Regione Sardegna.

Securing a maximum of 30 points at the Desert X Prix, Nico Rosberg’s outfit have set the bar high for the rest of the grid with a comfortable buffer ahead of ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team, who trail by 12 points, and X44 sitting third in the Championship on 15 points.

Nevertheless, with 60 points up for grabs Sardinia promises to be a summer showdown, with even more to play for as the series heads into its first ever double-header event (6-7 and 9-10 July 2022).

The reigning champions picked up where they left off in 2021 at the opening round of Season 2 by winning the Desert X Prix.

The thrilling action on the sands of Saudi Arabia ended with RXR on the top step and at the head of the standings with a perfect score of 30, after Johan Kristoffersson took the Continental Traction Challenge away from rivals X44 with his final lap of the weekend.

The Final was one of two halves, as a red flag was brought out at the end of the first lap following a big accident for McLaren XE's Tanner Foust, who in a bid for third place clipped the back of RXR debutant, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky.

The race resumed for a one-lap shootout, with Kristoffersson setting off in third place and soon passing X44’s Cristina Gutiérrez on the inside, before setting his sights on leader ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team’s Laia Sanz. As the Desert X Prix entered its closing stages, the Swede took a wide line into the second to last corner for an aggressive overtake on Sanz that secured a dramatic win.

The reigning Champions have won four races from a total of six in Extreme E so far, including last year’s Island X Prix in Sardinia.

The maiden Island X Prix last October proved to be a thriller, as RXR executed a measured drive to claim the win after No. 99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing and X44 were denied victory after suffering technical issues which ruled them out of contention.

Though they just missed out on the top spot at the Desert X Prix, ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team were one of the winners of the weekend, coming away with second place and their best finish in Extreme E so far.

Sanz and Carlos Sainz Snr. put forward strong performances all weekend, but the team got off to a shaky start in NEOM.

In the first of the new five-car Heats in Qualifying 2, a collision between Sainz Snr. and ABT Cupra XE’s Nasser Al-Attiyah caused heavy damaging, causing the Spanish outfit to retire from the Heat.

After the Stewards reviewed the collision, ABT CUPRA XE were classified last of the four runners in Heat 1. This meant ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team were promoted up to sixth place overall and coveted the remaining spot in Semi-Final 2.

ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team then safely secured a spot in the opening Final of the season by finishing second in Semi-Final 2 ahead of Genesys Andretti United Extreme E to seal their place in the five-car finale in NEOM.

The team looked set to secure their maiden win in the series, holding the lead of the race until the very last corner, before being pipped by RXR following Kristoffersson’s audacious late overtake.

Nevertheless, second place was their best result since the Arctic X Prix in Greenland last August and they will be looking to go one better in Sardinia.

Last year’s runners-up X44 have been a formidable opponent in Extreme E so far, with their fantastic qualifying pace keeping them in the hunt for the title in Season 1.

Extreme E’s ‘Champions of Qualifying’ have set the fastest qualifying time at every X Prix to date, eventually converting their speed into a top place podium finish for the Season 1 finale.

Lewis Hamilton’s team would have been looking to build on that momentum heading into the Season 2 opener in NEOM, but instead fans were greeted by a familiar pattern.

X44 began the Desert X Prix strongly, finishing as the fastest qualifier to open Extreme E Season 2 in ominous form, before duly securing victory in Semi-Final 1 ahead of RXR and XITE Energy Racing.

Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez were unable to convert their strong pace into a win, though. Following a strong start from Loeb, X44’s Gutiérrez attempted to close down the leaders ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team, but had to settle for third after being passed by RXR.

All eyes will be on this trio in Sardinia to see if they can maintain their strong start to Season 2.

To learn more about Extreme E, visit - www.Extreme-E.com

Julia Fry- photos ExtremeE

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/extreme-e-teams-repeat-sardinia-sardegna---239437.html

30.06.2022 / MaP

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