Extreme E: Molly Taylor wins Semi Final, Munnings gains a spot in the Final
The Extreme E electric SUVs battled out on the course for the first time wheel-to-wheel: it was Rosberg Racing's Molly Taylor to win the first ever Semi Final, while Catie Munnings recovered from yesterday's puncture to win the Crazy Race and gained an entry to the Final for Andretti United.
It was a dusty morning in the Saudi Arabian desert, which hosted the Semi Final and the Crazy Race for the first ever Extreme E event - featuring a changed format due to the nature of the location. The visibility, in fact, proved to be absolutely crucial - and the drivers learned soon that the first across the first gate would have gained a big visibility advantage.
The Semi Final saw the top qualifiers from yesterday Qualifying: X44 (Cristina Gutiérrez/Sebastién Loeb), Rosberg XR (Molly Taylor/Johan Kristoffersson) and Acciona-Sainz Racing (Laia Sanz/Carlos Sainz) - with the male drivers going out first.
It was a three-way battle right into the first turn: as Loeb and Sainz went for the wider line, Kristoffersson undercut both and took over the lead until the switch zone.
Following the 45-second minimum pit stop time, Molly Taylor stepped into the RXR car and led the field ahead of Cristina Gutiérrez with a 10 second gap. Laia Sanz was 30 seconds further adrift. Taylor, one of the most impressing drivers throughout the event, brought the car home with a 30-second gap to Cristina Gutiérrez and Laia Sanz. The top-two will make their way into the final later today - meaning Sainz and Sanz won't be progressing to the Final.
It was then time for the Crazy Race - where just the winner will find a spot into the final. On the starting line were JBXR (Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky/Jenson Button), Hispano Suiza (Christine Giampaoli Zonca) and Andretti United (Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen).
Hansen had a blistering start, followed by Bennett, while Button tried to take the outside line and lost time, especially as he drove blindly behind the other's sand dust.
Hansen was the first into the switch zone and handed the car over to Catie Munnings. Christine GZ took over from Bennett, while Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinksy waited a little longer for Button in the JBXR SUV.
It was a great drive for Giampaoli Zonca, who maintained the same gap throughout her lap and completed a solid first weekend for Hispano Suiza in fifth place overall.
After the second lap, Catie Munnings crossed the finish line in front, while Christine GZ finished in second followed by Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky. That means that Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen will start the Final - which will go underway at 13:00 local, 12:00 CEST!