Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky joins Extreme E champions RXR for season 2
Rosberg X Racing announced a new all-Swede line-up to defend its Extreme E title, with Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky moving to the team champions.
In a surprise move, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky will replace Molly Taylor at Rosberg X Racing, as the inaugural Extreme E team champions announced its new driver line up for the 2022 season. Åhlin-Kottulinsky will race alongside Swedish compatriot Johan Kristoffersson, who already raced for Nico Rosberg's outfit in 2021.
29-year-old Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky thus moves from Jenson Button's JBXE team to RXR and will help the team in its quest to defend the title.
In a very strong 2021 season, Åhlin-Kottulinsky claimed 4 podium finishes and was third in the standings, having shared the wheel of the JBXE Odyssey21 electric SUV with team owner and former F1 champion Button and then with rallycross racer Kevin Hansen.
“I am incredibly honoured and excited to join RXR and support the team in defending their Championship title" - she commented. "To have the chance to work with the winning team from Season 1 is truly a great opportunity, and I can’t wait to get started! I’m really looking forward to working and learning from Nico [Rosberg] and Johan [Kristoffersson], two world champions and drivers that I have huge respect for and admire for their incredible record behind the wheel.
Despite having started her career in rallycross in Sweden, Mikaela was one of the few drivers on the Extreme E grid with extensive background in track racing, as she had made her way up international motor racing in GT and touring cars. She became the first woman to win a race in the VW Scirocco R-Cup and scored points in ADAC GT Masters, German premier GT championship.
Since 2017, Åhlin-Kottulinsky has competed in Scandinavian's top racing series, STCC. At the wheel of the PWR Racing Cupra TCR, she won her first race in 2019 and continued to consistently step on the podium. In 2021, she would finish runner-up in the championship, with 2 wins and 11 podiums to her name.
At the same time, she started working with the Extreme E series in 2019, as she was appointed test and development driver for the championship's tyre supplier Continental.
“We are happy to have found the perfect driver line-up for our second season in Extreme E" - said Nico Rosberg, as the 2016 F1 Champion announced the new pairing. "This year is going to be even more challenging as we have to defend our title against a growing field of very professional and highly determined teams."
“With the experience and track record of both Johan [Kristoffersson] and Mikaela [Åhlin-Kottulinsky], we will be prepared for the battle and hopefully make for some exciting action on track. I can’t wait for the starting signal a couple of weeks from now.”
Mikaela showed impressive speed and often spectacular driving in her first season. At RXR, she will have big shoes to fill, but her development through the 2021 season proves the young Swede has what it takes to aim for the 2022 crown.
Australian Molly Taylor, who brought RXR to the championship title together with Kristoffersson, took to social media to announce that she will not be racing in Extreme E in 2022.
"I’d like to thank the whole team (who became more like family) for an incredible inaugural season", she wrote in an Instagram post. "Winning the first-ever Extreme E Championship and holding that trophy aloft was an incredible experience and I am very proud of the result we achieved together."
"There’s no secret of the complex realities that exist within Motorsport, often outside of a driver’s control; and whilst it means an unexpected change of plans for 2022, rest assured, despite a small intermission my time with Extreme E isn’t done yet."
Seven teams have now announced their full line-ups, with ABT Cupra confirming Dakar legend Jutta Kleinschmidt yesterday. Catie Munnings, Cristina Gutierrez and Laia Sanz also retain their seats, while Christine GZ moves from Xite Energy to Veloce Racing. Emma Gilmour, formerly reserve driver at Veloce, will be the first female driver in the history of McLaren.
The 2022 season starts on 19-20 February at Neom, Saudi Arabia, for the Desert X Prix.