Neustadt, 07. July 2022. It was a disappointing end to a promising race for Rosberg X Racing. After crossing the finishing line during Island X Prix I, a 30-second-penalty put the Championship leader down to P3 as a result of a racing incident involving RXR and the ACCIONA | Sainz XE car during the Final. RXR now leads the 2022 Extreme E Championship with 50 points.
The squad around Nico Rosberg fought hard to claim victory in an eventful NEOM Island X Prix I. RXR sent Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky out to take on the first lap of Semi-Final 1 against Timmy Hansen for Genesys Andretti United Extreme E and XITE ENERGY Racing’s Tamara Molinaro. In an epic battle between RXR and Genesys Andretti United Extreme E, Åhlin-Kottulinsky managed to keep the door shut on Timmy Hansen despite multiple attacks from her follower. The two tussled in the opening corners, testing alternate lines and coming into contact several times as they fought for the lead. A defensive masterclass from Åhlin-Kottulinsky lasted until the final corner, when Hansen took a wide line to cut through on the inside of RXR and get ahead in one of the best duels of Extreme E so far. As the teams entered the Switch Zone, Johan Kristoffersson took over the wheel for RXR’s second lap and soon overtook Catie Munnings to reclaim the lead over the Genesys Andretti United Extreme E car. Flying over the course to the finish line, Kristoffersson booked RXR a more than deserved place in the Finals.
The Finals turned out to be a true motorsport thriller. Johan Kristoffersson started from P4, taking the alternate line over the standard route at the start. As the two racing lines merged again in the first sector, Kristoffersson and Carlos Sainz both fought hard for the lead and made unfortunate contact, which resulted in a rollover of the ACCIONA | Sainz XE car and a lost front bonnet for RXR. Continuing the battle, Kristoffersson pushed his compromised ODYSSEY21 into the Switch Zone with a gap of 4.383 seconds on Leduc’s GMC Hummer EV, when the red flag brought the race to a temporary halt and neutralised the grid. RXR used the break to tape the car back together for a safe re-start with Åhlin-Kottulinsky behind the wheel. The Swede flew away from the starting line, leaving the rest of the grid behind her and pushed the ODYSSEY21 over the finish line with a lead of 10 seconds on the second-placed No.99 GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing.
Even with the penalty, Nico Rosberg's outfit still leads the Championship standings with 50 points, having once again secured the extra five points for going quickest in the Continental Traction Challenge. Rosberg X Racing finished the NEOM Island X Prix I with a total of 20 Points.
Kimmo Liimatainen, Rosberg X Racing Team Principal, commented: “While we entered this evening in high spirits following our win at today's Island X Prix, the decision has since been made to give our team a 30-second penalty. This decision is due to us arriving at the merging track at the same time as Carlos Sainz, resulting in an unfortunate racing incident. The penalty is disappointing, but we respect the stewards' opinion and we are very glad to hear that Carlos is okay. Congratulations to Chip Ganassi on their first win.”
Johan Kristoffersson, Rosberg X Racing driver, said: ”I had a very good start taking a line that I have not taken since practice in 2021. Carlos and I both went for it and made unfortunate contact, which was a real shame, but I am glad that he is doing OK. We have another chance to prove ourselves, and I look forward to returning to the track this weekend for round 2 of the Island X Prix.”
Rosberg X Racing driver Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, added: “I am naturally disappointed for the team, who fought very hard for this victory, especially the technicians. However, the most important thing is that Carlos got out safely and we wish him a very speedy recovery. Our performance was great and we will do our best for a strong comeback.” Ahead of the NEOM Island X Prix II, which kicks off with Qualifying sessions on Saturday, RXR will focus on the team’s Driven By Purpose Campaign. Partnering with Life Terra and the MedSea Foundation, Rosberg X Racing and Allianz will help to rebuild some of the natural habitat that fell victim to the 2021 wildfires. While planting season starts in November 2022, the team will make a symbolic start with three olive trees put into the earth tomorrow in Sardinia's Oristano area.