Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky wins again at Island XPrix 2 in Sardinia
After winning on day 1 in Sardinia, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky swept the Island X Prix after a perfect day weekend in Italy. RXR shortened the gap to Laia Sanz and Acciona Sainz Racing in the championship.
The second race day of the Sardinia double header took place on a dry and dusty island X Prix course and, just like on Saturday, Swedish driver Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky shone to take the victory in the event final heat.
Heat 1 (RXR - Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky/Johan Kristoffersson, Chip Ganassi Racing - Amanda Sorensen/RJ Anderson, McLaren - Emma Gilmour/Tanner Foust, JBXE - Hedda Hosås/Andreas Bakkerud, X44 - Christina Gutierrez/Fraser McConnell)
Drama was non-stop already since the first heat of qualifying 1, with almost every team trying to get into the faster middle way. Kristoffersson led the pack but McConnell had not enough space and picked up a puncture after a light contact. He was forced to come into the pits to change the tire, which dropped X44 quite far behind.
Kristoffersson kept the lead until the Switch Zone, where he would hand his SUV over to Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky; the fellow Swede had no trouble to manage the gap and won the first heat on Sunday, ahead of Amanda Sorensen - who did shorten the gap, but had not enough time left to catch the RXR vehicle. The McLaren duo was third.
Heat 2 (Veloce - Molly Taylor/Kevin Hansen, Andretti - Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen, Sainz Acciona - Laia Sanz/Mattias Ekström, ABT Cupra - Klara Andersson/Sebastien Loeb, Carl Cox Motorsport - Lia Block/Timo Scheider)
It was again a duel for the middle line, with the Hansen brothers being first and second ahead of Scheider. Loeb was the only driver trying the outer line and he remained on the tail of the others cars as the line reunited.
Kevin Hansen was the first in the Switch Zone and handed his Veloce Odyssey21 to Molly Taylor, who was first back out, ahead of Catie Munnings and Laia Sanz. They finished in this order, with no battles for position happening over the two laps.
Heat 1 (RXR, X44, Andretti, McLaren, ABT)
The first heat saw intense battles from the start: Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Catie Munnings fought for the lead for the whole two laps, with the Swede eventually coming in first into the driver switch zone.
Behind them, Emma Gilmour and Klara Andersson battled for P3 and made contact. The rear suspension of Cristina Gutierrez's car failed, which prematurely ended the race for X44.
In the lead, Johan Kristoffersson pushed for a bigger gap with Timmy Hansen right behind. Sebastien Loeb finished thrid, as McLaren was forced to retire from the race with a broken rear suspension as well.
Heat 2 (Sainz Acciona, Veloce, JBXE, CGR, Carl Cox Motorsports)
Chip Ganassi Racing's Amanda Sorenson had the best launch at the start and pushed into the lead ahead of Molly Taylor and Laia Sanz; Lia Block followed closely and the Australian Veloce driver fell down the order as she tried to keep up the pressure.
Sorensen lost pace in her second lap, with Laia Sanz passing her and Lia Block making contact with the Chip Ganassi Car once she tried to overtake as well; Block lost momentum and Bakkerud snatched the position - and even got ahead of Amanda Sorensen just before the Switch Zone.
Ekström went out of the Switch Zone as the new leader and pulled away from the rest of the pursuers. The battle between Scheider and Kevin Hansen heated up and they would make contact: Hansen lost much of his Odyssey21's bodywork, which slowed him down to last.
At the front, Ekström scored the heat victory ahead of JBXE and Carl Cox Motorsports. The latter was second on track but got a penalty after pushing Hedda Hosås from the line as he passed her.
Redemption Race (ABT Cupra, Carl Cox Motorsports, Veloce, McLaren, X44)
The first championship points on Sunday were assigned in the Redemption Race, with Loeb leading the way from the start with McConnell and Kevin Hansen behind. Scheider had no luck and was slowed down by a puncture that brought him to the Switch Zone in the last place. At the driver change, Loeb was first ahead of McConnell and Hansen.
Klara Andersson had Cristina Gutierrez right behind her after leaving the Switch Zone - but the Swede was cool enough to hold Gutierrez behind to finish first, ahead of X44 and Veloce. The end result was switched as X44 received a penalty for touching two way points and dropped down to third behind Veloce.
Final (RXR, JBXE, Sainz Acciona, CGR, Andretti)
Like in the other heats before, all drivers tried to go for the middle line - but again there was not enough space for all SUVs to fit and ended in Timmy Hansen having a short trip into the bushes which cost him ground.
The final was one of the closest racing of the weekend, with tight battles for position: the top four where separated by less than two seconds. Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky resumed in first place again and managed her lead safely to her second overall victory of the weekend. Second was Laia Sanz, ahead of Catie Munnings - who passed Amanda Sorensen for the last podium spot.
“Wow, what an epic weekend", said Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky. "We had really good pace all weekend, and the team worked so hard to get the car in the perfect shape every time."
"Today, I thought it would be hard at the start, but Johan [Kristoffersson] just did what Johan does best. When I took over, there was some pressure from Laia [Sanz] behind me, but I tried to keep it tidy and keep the lines. It just feels surreal to have two wins in Sardinia! It’s epic!”
Acciona Sainz still leads the championship standings - but with two race wins at the Island XPrix double head, Rosberg Xtreme Racing follows closely, just 4 points behind as Extreme E will return to action from 16th to 17th September either in the USA or the Amazon for the fourth round of the championship which is yet to be confirmed.