Molly Taylor and Rosberg X Racing win second Extreme E event
Two in a row: Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson win the Ocean X Prix for Rosberg X Racing in a red-flagged final. Jamie Chadwick scored her first second place, ahead of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky.
The second ever event of the brand new Extreme E series featured some format adjustments ahead of the Ocean X Prix, with four cars running in the final on the atlantic coast of Senegal. It turned out to be again a perfect weekend for Rosberg X Racing team, lining up Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson at the wheel of their Odyssey 21 electric SUV. The duo became last month the first ever winners of a Extreme E event in AlUla, Saudi Arabia.
On the first lap, Molly Taylor, Cristina Gutiérrez and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky - as well as Stephane Sarrazin - were getting ready for the final race, having qualified in the previous Semi-Finals. Kottulinksy had a very good start, but just few metres after the start, her right rear suspension failed. As much as she initially tried to continue, the Swede was forced to pull out at the first right-hander after the long straight.
Molly Taylor and Cristina Gutiérrez battled hard through the first turn and made contact: Gutiérrez drifted off track and her X44-car couldn't continue for the damages. The Spaniard was also forced to retire.
Veloce Racing's Stephane Sarrazin followed Molly Taylor, but the former F1 and WRC driver wasn't able to make a pass and, just as both approached the switch zone, the red flag was waved.
Both teams had to wait in the switch zone before changing their drivers and, after a few moments of uncertainty, the race was restarted after the two stricken cars got recovered. A broadcasted radio message from the race director called the teams to wait for their driver change, but Johan Kristoffersson was quickly in the driving seat of the Rosberg's car. They did not receive a penalty for that.
As soon as the track was clear again, both the RXR and Veloce teams were lined up for a new standing start - that would only include the last lap. Jamie Chadwick and Johan Kristoffersson would decide the fate of the final.
Both the drivers had good starts, but as Kristoffersson used the Hyperdrive, he led into the first corner and slowly pulled away. Jamie followed and could not ultimately close the gap, finishing 14 seconds behind the winning team Rosberg X Racing.
“It’s so fantastic to have won today! Coming here, it felt like we had a lot of work to do over the weekend, and it certainly didn’t come easy, but with every session we just kept our heads down and just saw where we needed to improve, and everything totally paid off in the end", Molly Taylor said after the race.
After the first unlucky weekend for Team Veloce Racing, it was a redemption drive for Jamie Chadwick and Stephane Sarrazin to take second place this weekend.
"This is very different to driving single seaters and I’m constantly learning and I can’t really underestimate that but I think everyone is, it’s new for everyone." - commented Jamie.
"I’m really really enjoying the challenge and I think the coolest thing for me this weekend was I nearly had the chance to be racing wheel to wheel with the likes of Sébastien Loeb and Johan Kristoffersson."
"To ever have thought that was going to happen is crazy", Jamie added, having nevertheless showed good pace improvements throughout the event and more confidence after each run, in qhat was effectively her first race in offroad racing.
JBXE secured the third and last podium spot, ahead of X44 - as they stopped ahead of the X44 vehicle on the track. This means the best finish of the season so far for the Swedish duo of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Kevin Hansen - the latter stepping in for driver/owner Jenson Button.
"Overall performance has improved greatly session by session and working with Kevin has been really good. It’s a shame to just make it to Turn 1 of course in the Final, but to end in P3, we are happy with that." - said Mikaela.
"The first contact at the start really hurt us, after that I felt the car was really slowing down, after a few hundred metres I heard a big noise and then it was almost impossible to drive but I tried to take it as far as possible which gave us P3 in the end". Mikaela was happy with that last podium spot.
Rosberg X Racing extended their leadership in the points standings after their second win, ahead of X44 and the suprising team of JBXE.
The next race will take place from 28th to 29th as the Arctic X Prix in Greenland.