Rosberg X Racing top Qualifying in opening round of Season 4

17 February 2024, London: Defending champions Rosberg X Racing (RXR) have carried their title-winning pace into 2024, coming out on top in Qualifying for Round 1 of the Desert X Prix in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky have continued their successful partnership, this time taking the win in both of their Qualifying Heats to top the timesheets and make it into the first Grand Final of the season.

E.ON Veloce Racing and the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team (ASXE), who made up the championship top three with RXR last year, carried that momentum with them into Round 1 of 2024, each taking a Heat win to secure a spot in the Grand Final.

Rounding out the first Grand Final line-up of Season 4 are NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team. New teammates Cristina Gutiérrez and Mattias Ekström showed consistency on their debuts for the British squad, taking second place in both of their Qualifying Heats.

The remaining four teams will fight it out in the Redemption Race with even more at stake, as a change to the points system for Season 4 will see the winner awarded the same championship points as last place in the Grand Final.

Qualifying 1 – Heat 1

E.ON Veloce Racing’s Kevin Hansen got the best launch, taking the lead at the first turn. NEOM McLaren’s Mattias Ekström slotted into second, with JBXE’s Andreas Bakkerud and SUN Minimeal Team’s Klara Andersson in fourth.

While Hansen pulled seven seconds ahead of the pack, Andersson began to pressure Bakkerud for third as the teams headed into the Switch Zone. Taylor continued out in front throughout her two-lap run, with NEOM McLaren’s Cristina Gutiérrez maintaining second place.

An issue in the Switch Zone dropped JBXE down to fourth, with Timo Scheider taking third place on his debut as driver and Team Principal for SUN Minimeal Team. JBXE’s Dania Akeel, in her maiden Extreme E Qualifying Heat at her home event, rounded out the order.

Qualifying 1 – Heat 2

A great overtake from RXR’s Kristoffersson around the outside of Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E’s Catie Munnings, who got the better launch, ensured the Season 3 champions took the lead after the opening turn.

Munnings held second ahead of Gray Leadbetter for LEGACY MOTOR CLUB IN ASSOCIATION WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON’S (LEGACY M.C.), with ASXE’s Laia Sanz in fourth after a near-roll at the first corner. Sanz quickly got ahead of Leadbetter to begin ASXE’s recovery up the order, and a battle ensued between the Spaniard and Briton Munnings ahead.

Kristoffersson maintained a comfortable gap as the teams entered the Switch Zone for the driver change, with Åhlin-Kottulinsky preserving that advantage to win the Heat.

Andretti Altawkilat took second as Timmy Hansen stayed ahead of ASXE debutant Fraser McConnell, with LEGACY M.C.’s Travis Pastrana fourth in his first-ever racing run in the ODYSSEY 21.

Qualifying 2 – Heat 1

ASXE’s McConnell surged round the outside of the group to take the lead through the first corner. Behind the Jamaican, LEGACY M.C.’s Pastrana took second as E.ON Veloce Racing’s Taylor ran wide, with JBXE’s Akeel slotting into fourth.

The teams entered the Switch Zone in this order but, following the driver change, E.ON Veloce Racing’s Hansen set off to hunt down Leadbetter, in what was the American’s third-ever racing lap in the LEGACY M.C. ODYSSEY 21.

Hansen was quicker over a crest towards the end of their first lap, carrying his pace through the next two corners to secure second place, putting E.ON Veloce Racing alongside rivals RXR in the Grand Final.

First place in the Heat for ASXE proved enough for the 2023 runners-up to make it into the first Grand Final of Season 4 after a third place finish in their first Qualifying Heat. Third and fourth for LEGACY M.C. and JBXE, respectively, puts both teams into the Redemption Race.

Qualifying 2 – Heat 2

SUN Minimeal Team’s Scheider led at the start, while Andretti Altawkilat’s Hansen took second by passing RXR’s Åhlin-Kottulinsky at Turn 2. NEOM McLaren’s Gutiérrez ran in fourth as the group remained close through the opening lap.

Hansen’s charge continued, as the Swede eventually got the better of Scheider to take the lead, but the pack bunched up once more as the chasing drivers hit the brakes late into the Switch Zone. A smooth driver change saw RXR climb to second place. Kristoffersson, reading the situation well, used his ENOWA Hyperdrive at the Switch Zone exit to get ahead of Andretti Altawkilat’s Munnings and get in front.

This jump up the order into top spot saw RXR take the Heat win and first place in the Qualifying standings. Slightly further back, NEOM McLaren’s Ekström was also on the charge, and soon secured second place and a spot in the Grand Final for his new team.

Andretti Altawkilat and SUN Minimeal Team, having both had a share of the lead, only secured enough points for a spot in the Redemption Race despite showing good pace.

The Extreme E Season 4 opener in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, gets underway this weekend (17-18 February). The racing action will be live across ITV and STV in the UK, while outside of the UK please visit here for broadcaster details.

Q1 Heat 1:

  1. E.ON Veloce Racing 10:53.341 mins
  2. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team +4.706s
  3. SUN Minimeal Team +9.686s
  4. JBXE +34.089s

Q1 Heat 2:

  1. Rosberg X Racing 11:04.679 mins
  2. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E +4.261s
  3. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team +8.230s
  4. LEGACY MOTOR CLUB IN ASSOCIATION WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON +24.286s

Q2 Heat 1:

  1. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team 10:56.533 mins
  2. E.ON Veloce Racing +3.287s
  3. LEGACY MOTOR CLUB IN ASSOCIATION WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON +11.496s
  4. JBXE +43.833s

Q2 Heat 2:

  1. Rosberg X Racing 11:11.797 mins
  2. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team +1.211s
  3. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E +6.615s
  4. SUN Minimeal Team +15.382s

Qualifying Standings:

  1. Rosberg X Racing: 20
  2. E.ON Veloce Racing: 18
  3. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team: 16
  4. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 16
  5. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E: 14
  6. SUN Minimeal Team: 10
  7. LEGACY MOTOR CLUB™ IN ASSOCIATION WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON: 10
  8. JBXE: 8

To learn more about Extreme E, visit – www.Extreme-E.com

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of SpeedwayMedia.com

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