DAKAR: Rosberg X Racing (RXR) teammates Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor reigned supreme once more at Extreme E’s second event in Lac Rose, Dakar, Senegal after the duo overcame intense pressure from their rivals to be crowned winners of the first-ever Ocean X prix.
The electric SUV, off-road racing series followed up its dramatic curtain-raising Desert X Prix in the Saudi deserts of AlUla at the beginning of April by delivering even more spectacular moments and overtakes against the backdrop of the Atlantic Ocean.
The grand final proved dramatic with two of the four cars retiring at the first corner, leaving RXR to extend their championship lead and Veloce Racing to snatch a surprise result, bouncing back from their disastrous Desert X Prix to finish second.
JBXE finished third, with Lewis Hamilton’s X44 coming in fourth.
Nico Rosberg, founder and CEO of RXR, said: “I’m so happy for us as a team to have won in Extreme E for the second time. Two out of two, wow.
“You know, it’s not to be underestimated the challenge that was out there this weekend. It’s so difficult because no one really understands the cars properly, as you don’t get a chance to test them. So, you have to guess and figure things out – as a team, we’re really trying to bring a Formula 1 approach to Extreme E here which is really helping us a team to perform.
“And it’s so cool as well that in AlUla, it was Johan that very much did it at the start and Molly followed on, but today it’s Molly that made the magic in the final and then Johan brought it home,” the former Formula 1 champion added.
The tight and technical Ocean X Prix course was a hit with the all-star field of Extreme E drivers and yielded close racing and several options for alternate routes which were deployed throughout the two days of competition.
It was Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle LeDuc that took the Super Sector title, earning an extra five points for his team setting the fastest time of 1 minute 50.891 seconds – 1.289 seconds ahead of X44’s Sebastien Loeb.
“The race format here has been a big step forward from AlUla in terms of development for race excitement – but it’s still early stages and there’s still a way to go,” Rosberg said.
“One needs to analyze again, and I think we keep on seeing more and more glimpses of such awesome motor racing and this will continue to evolve into a super spectacle the more we go on. Remember, nobody has ever done this before, and you have to be openminded and accept that you are going to learn and make it more and more exciting each time.
“I love this whole championship and being in the role of team principal – I’m still as competitive as hell even though I’m not actually driving. Anyway, we have the two best drivers in the car who are doing a much better job than I could – and I couldn’t be happier,” he added.
Taylor was delighted with her team’s first-place finish for the second race in a row.
She said: “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.
“It’s difficult to predict anything in Extreme E even when you have the best laid plan, but the team was awesome, and Johan really did a phenomenal job too,” Taylor added.
Kristoffersson said: “Molly executed everything perfectly, she did an amazing job taking care of the traffic in her lap. The team also did a fantastic job, and I have to say a big thanks to them for bringing me and Molly up to speed over the weekend, as we really weren’t the fastest coming into this event.
“But in the end, we were quick where we needed to be and got good starts, so we couldn’t wish for more than that.”
Final result of Ocean X Prix
Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 2 laps
Veloce Racing (Stephane Sarrazin / Jamie Chadwick) +14.676 seconds
JBXE (Kevin Hansen / Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky) DNF
X44 (Sebastien Loeb / Cristina Gutierrez) DNF
Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 71 points
X44 (Sebastien Loeb / Cristina Gutierrez) 57 points
JBXE (Jenson Button / Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky) 44 points
Andretti United Extreme E (Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) 37 points
XITE ENERGY RACING (Oliver Bennett / Christine GZ) 37 points
ACCIONA / Sainz XE Team (Carlos Sainz / Laia Sanz) 36 points
ABT Cupra XE (Mattias Ekstrom / Claudia Hurtgen) 35 points
Veloce Racing (Stephane Sarrazin / Jamie Chadwick) 31 points
Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price) 30 points