Molly Taylor returns to Extreme E victory
Season 1 Extreme E champion Molly Taylor is back with a bang in the electric off-road championship and, alongside new teammate Kevin Hansen, she brought home the first victory for British team Veloce Racing at Neom.
At the 2023 Extreme E season opener in Neom, Saudi Arabia, 2021 series champion Molly Taylor was back to a full-time drive in the electric off road championship - and was back with a bang, claiming her fourth win on Saturday, after an action-filled Desert X Prix.
After winning the inaugural season for Rosberg X Racing alongside Johan Kristoffersson, Taylor was left without a full-time seat in 2022, The Australian joined JBXE in Saudi, and would later return for the finale in Uruguay with Veloce Racing - the team that eventually offered her a seat for 2023.
The series' third season went underway with a significantly renewed format, including a new system of qualifying heats and double headers at every round.
In an-incident filled first Desert X Prix on Saturday, British squad Veloce Racing secured its first ever win in the championship, thanks to a strong performance by its all-new driver pairing of Molly Taylor and Kevin Hansen.
The duo set the fastest time in practice, before taking a victory and a second place finish in the two qualifying races on the new Neom course layout, which featured a coast-side section. In the first Grand Final of the weekend, Acciona Sainz XE Team’s Mattias Ekström had the better start off the line but RXR’s Johan Kristoffersson inside line meant that Nico Rosberg's team took the lead, ahead of Veloce's Kevin Hansen.
The top four continued to battle nose-to-tail, while Chip Ganassi Racing and X44 dropped out of contention after coming to a halt on track.
Ahead of the driver change, Kristoffersson and Hansen had opened a gap after the two first laps: at the switch zone, Molly Taylor was out in front of Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky - who then moved into the lead when Taylor ran wide.
2022 vice-champion Åhlin-Kottulinsky took the chequered flag in first, ahead of Molly Taylor and Acciona Sainz's Laia Sanz. RXR, though, received a post-race penalty for speeding in a slow zone on the final lap, handing the victory to Molly Taylor and Kevin Hansen for Veloce Racing.
“Wow, what a week and what a win for everyone at Veloce Racing" - commented Taylor. "Kevin [Hansen] and I have just clicked since the partnership began at the end of 2022, and the whole set-up at Veloce Racing is exactly what we both need in order to perform at our best."
For Taylor, it was her fourth win in Extreme E, following victories at the 2021 Desert X Prix, Ocean X Prix and Island X Prix.
“We have all worked extremely hard in the build-up to this season, and we were feeling confident going into the weekend. It’s great to see that our pace is there and we’re already looking forward to tomorrow", Taylor added.
Action continued on Sunday, for more qualifying races and the second Grand Final of the year.