Rosberg pips Team X44 in first Extreme E qualy round

Date published: April 3 2021

Rosberg X Racing Extreme E

Rosberg X Racing got the better of Lewis Hamilton’s Team X44 in the first-ever qualifying round of the all-electric Extreme E series.

Nine cars took to the Saudi Arabian desert for the first of two rounds of qualifying where both male and female sides of each driver line-up set a time complete with a driver switch factored in.

The most-decorated FIA World Rally Champion of all time, Sebastian Loeb, had the honour of setting the first-ever timed lap in Extreme E and, alongside Cristina Gutierrez – who has bags of Dakar Rally experience – set a competitive opening time of 10:48.067.

But that run included a minor off down a banked area for Loeb and so that opened the door for another team to grab the P1 spot heading into the second round of qualifying later on Saturday.

Accepting that invitation was the team of reigning three-time World Rallycross champion, Johan Kristoffersson and vastly experienced rally driver Molly Taylor, who between them managed to shave 4.50 seconds off Team X44’s time.

Three-time Dakar Rally winner, Carlos Sainz threw down arguably the most committed lap of the session but he and fellow Spaniard Laia Sanz had to settle for P3 and were 32.66 seconds off the pace.

Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings finished a very creditable P4 with the latter having to wrestle with a puncture throughout the challenging circuit.

Formula 1 2009 World Champion, Jenson Button, with his team-mate Mikaela Ahlin Kottulinsky, cemented P5 with a time of 12:22.436.

Their P5 finish would have been under threat by the Hispano Suiza Zite Energy team but they were hit by a massive 75-second penalty for speeding in the driver switch zone.

Kyle Leduc and Sara Price finished bottom of the teams able to complete a lap but a suspected loss of power steering significantly hindered the Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing team.

Big crashes for Claudia Hurgten and Stephane Sarrazin ensured their respective ABT Cupra XE and Veloce Racing teams had DNFs next to their names on the timesheet, but thankfully both drivers are ok after their offs.

Timesheet

1. Rosberg Extreme Racing (Johan Kristoffesson/Molly Taylor) 10:43.56
2. X44 (Sebastien Loeb/Christina Gutierrez) 10:48.067
3. Acciona Sainz (Carlos Sainz/Laia Sanz) 11:16.231
4. Andretti United Extreme E (Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen) 11:31.603
5. JBXE (Jenson Button/Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky) 12:22.426
6. Hispano Suiza Xite (Christine Giampoli Zonca/Oliver Bennett) 13:09.038
7. Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc/Sara Price) 13:33.674
8. ABT Cupra (Mattias Ekstrom/Claudia Huertgen) DNF
9. Veloce Racing Extreme E (Stephane Sarrazin/Jamie Chadwick) DNF

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