RXR top nail-biting Round 2 Qualifying at the Extreme E Desert X Prix

18 February 2024, London: Defending champions and Round 1 winners Rosberg X Racing (RXR) continue their dominant run, coming out on top in Qualifying in the second round Season 4 the Desert X Prix in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia

Nico Rosberg’s outfit continued where they left off yesterday, with Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinksy and Johan Kristoffersson winning both of their Qualifying Heats to top the standings as they did in the opening round, securing a spot in the Round 2 Grand Final.

ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team (ASXE), who ended Round 1 with a DNF in the Grand Final, enter the top four once more. The Spanish outfit took honours in Qualifying 1 Heat 2, and third place in their next qualifying Heat was enough to see the team through.

While Andretti Altawkilat just missed out on the Heat win in the first qualifying session behind ASXE, Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen executed the perfect comeback in Qualifying 2 to win their first Qualfiying Heat of Season 4. This sees the team through to the Grand Final following a Redemption Race win in Round 1.

After a nail-biting Qualifying 2, E.ON Veloce Racing and NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team finished level on points, but a quicker time in the Continental Traction Challenge sees Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor through to Grand Final where they’ll look to top third-place in Round 1 for E.ON Veloce Racing.

Round 1 runners-up NEOM McLaren XE, along with the three remaining teams, will fight it out in the Redemption Race for valuable championship points.

Qualifying 1 – Heat 1

LEGACY MOTOR CLUB WITH JIMMIE JOHNSON’s (LEGACY M.C.) Travis Pastrana snatched the lead at the start of Heat 1, ahead of yesterday’s top-three teams – RXR, E.ON Veloce Racing, and NEOM McLaren.

The off-road racing legend continued to extend his advantage, taking a lead of seven seconds into the Switch Zone. Disaster struck for the all-new American outfit, though, as the team was awarded a 17-second penalty for a Switch Zone infringement.

LEGACY M.C.’s Gray Leadbetter still maintained track position as the teams exited the Switch Zone. After a valiant defensive effort, the 19-year-old was passed by RXR’s Kristoffersson heading into the final lap, and dropped back to third on track as Hansen moved E.ON Veloce Racing up to second.

Leadbetter managed to keep ahead of NEOM McLaren XE’s Mattias Ekström as the teams crossed the finish line at the end of the Heat, but the Round 1 runners-up moved ahead of LEGACY M.C. following the latter’s time-penalty.

Qualifying 1 – Heat 2

ASXE’s Fraser McConnell made the best start in Heat 2, leading the pack after the first turn as SUN Minimeal Team’s Timo Scheider and Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E’s Hansen battled for second, with JBXE’s Dania Akeel close behind.

The pair fought hard throughout the opening two laps, making contact as they jockeyed for position, but it was Hansen who eventually came out on top to move Andretti Altawkilat into second place. Following the driver change, Catie Munnings was right on Laia Sanz’s tail throughout the last two laps, but the Briton could not get past and the Spaniard claimed the all-important Heat 2 victory for ASXE.

Klara Andersson brought home the SUN Minimeal Team ODYSSEY 21 in third place, with Andreas Bakkerud rounding out the order for JBXE in fourth.

Qualifying 2 – Heat 1

Another strong start from Ekström saw the NEOM McLaren XE car undercut the rest of the pack, and a quick deployment of the ENOWA Hyperdrive after Turn 1 saw the Swede leading the pack into Turn 2. Close behind E.ON Veloce Racing’s Hansen kept Andretti Altawkilat’s Munnings and JBXE’s Bakkerud in his mirrors as he set off in pursuit of Ekström.

Munnings kept the leading pair within reach throughout her stint, giving her teammate Hansen just two seconds to overcome as he chased down NEOM McLaren XE’s Gutierréz and E.ON Veloce Racing’s Taylor further upfield, as the Australian jumped ahead of Gutiérrez with a slick driver change in the Switch Zone.

Hansen had to fight hard to make it past Gutierréz, as the Spaniard shut the door on the Andretti Altawkilat driver multiple times throughout the opening lap. Some clever manoeuvering from Hansen soon secured the overtake, though, and the Swede carried that pace in pursuit of Taylor, soon executing the undercut to take first from E.ON Veloce Racing.

NEOM McLaren XE’s Gutierréz, determined to see her team through to another Desert X Prix Grand Final, managed to get ahead of E.ON Veloce Racing’s Taylor with a late move before the finish line. Gutierréz may have stolen second-place in the Heat by 0.4 seconds, but they were unable to steal E.ON Veloce Racing’s spot in the Grand Final. Fourth in the Heat for JBXE means they join NEOM McLaren XE in the Redemption Race.

Qualifying 2 – Heat 2

SUN Minimeal Team’s Andersson was quickest off the line, but it was RXR’s Kristoffersson who took the early lead, using the favoured inside line through the opening corner. The Swede was followed by ASXE’s Sanz, who used the same tactics to get ahead of Andersson and Leadbetter in the LEGACY M.C. car.

Andersson and Leadbetter were side-by-side over the first set of jumps, but it was the young American who secured third place for the opening lap. Up ahead, ASXE’s Sanz kept Kristoffersson in her sights, giving RXR’s Åhlin-Kottulinksy only a five-second advantage ahead of ASXE’s McConnell.

Following the driver change, LEGACY M.C.’s Pastrana entered attack mode, pushing his ODYSSEY 21 to its limit. The car bucked onto two wheels repeatedly as Pastrana hunted down ASXE’s McConnell, and the American was the first of the group to use his ENOWA Hypderdrive to close the gap enough to soon take second-place.

Åhlin-Kottulinsky crossed the line first, completing another dominant Qualifying for Nico Rosberg’s outift. Third place for McConnell proved enough for ASXE to complete the Round 2 Grand Final line-up, while LEGACY M.C. and the SUN Minimeal Team will be battling for a Redemption Race win and the coveted 12 championship points that come with it.

Q1 Heat 1:

  1. Rosberg X Racing 10:48.380mins
  2. E.ON Veloce Racing +1.613s
  3. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team +10.032s

Q1 Heat 2:

  1. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team 10:59.956mins
  2. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E +1.012s
  3. SUN Minimeal Team +7.805s
  4. JBXE +29.955s

Q2 Heat 1:

  1. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E 10:49.433mins
  2. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team +1.206s
  3. E.ON Veloce Racing +1.652s
  4. JBXE +29.498s

Q2 Heat 2:

  1. Rosberg X Racing 10:59.082mins
  3. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team +5.689s
  4. SUN Minimeal Team +9.787s

Qualifying Standings

  1. Rosberg X Racing: 20 points
  2. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E: 18 points
  3. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 16 points
  4. E.ON Veloce Racing: 14 points
  5. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team: 14 points
  7. SUN Minimeal Team: 10 points
  8. JBXE: 8 points

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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