NEOM, 19th February 2022. Rosberg X Racing qualified in P4 overall on the second day of competitive action at the Desert X Prix in NEOM, Saudi Arabia. Due to a 17-seconds penalty, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Johan Kristoffersson will be starting in tomorrow’s semi-final 1 alongside X44 and Xite.
The inaugural Extreme E Champion set the pace in the first qualifying session in an action-packed Qualifying 1, which was interrupted by a red flag. Kristoffersson was first to go out on a damp track providing better grip than during the free practice session due to overcast and light rain in the morning. The reigning Champion did a flawless run over the fast-paced course, steep hills and bumpy sections that made for a hard ride. Kristoffersson managed the risks well though, and set an excellent time of 3:30:222 before handing over the ODYSSEY 21 to his new team-mate, Åhlin-Kottulinsky. Just when the 29-year-old took over, heavy rain came in. Despite the conditions, the Swedish driver remained calm and managed to push over the finish line on P1 as fastest female driver of the day, setting a benchmark time of 9:03:604 to top the leaderboard ahead of rival X44.
Åhlin-Kottulinsky went on to make the first outing at the second Qualifying round, which was the first five-car Qualifying session following the introduction of the revised Extreme E race format this year. Starting from P4 on the grid, she faced tough competition with Hansen and Foust battling hard at the front of the grid and dust coming back in the bright afternoon hours. As the second-placed McLaren team was confronted with a technical problem during the driver switch, RXR’s chances rose again with a highly committed Kristoffersson taking the wheel in third position. He used his window of opportunity and attacked the front-runner Catie Munnings in the Andretti United machine, providing for an epic battle with the Swede passing her at the final downhill section just before the finish line.
RXR didn’t have much time to enjoy the triumph as a 17-seconds penalty as a result of technical issues with the pit limiter set them back to P4 overall.
Kimmo Liimatainen, Rosberg X Racing Team Principal, said: “We started quite well with the single-car qualifying finishing on P1 and can be really happy about this result, especially with a view on the tough competition we had. The five-car Qualifying 2 was obviously more difficult with Mikaela having to deal with some very tough guys on the grid. She brought the car home on P3 and then Johan launched a sensational attack overtaking everyone, resulting in a P1. Unfortunately, due to technical issues resulting in the speeding infringement, we are now on P4. This is disappointing, but not everything is lost and tomorrow we will attack again.” Rosberg X Racing driver, Johan Kristoffersson, commented: “Overall, we had a good day, we were very fast and had no technical issues in Q1. Obviously, the second qualifying was tricky due to the dust. Luckily, Mikaela had told me of her issues with the speed limiter, so I knew I had to catch up and be as fast as possible to make up for a prospective penalty. It wasn’t quite enough, but I am confident that we will be strong tomorrow and I look forward to starting the semi-finals.” Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Rosberg X Racing driver, added: “It was my first day with RXR and overall, we had a strong pace and it felt really good to finish on P1 in Qualifying 1. Unfortunately, I experienced some issues at my start in Q2, which dropped me down to P3, and I also struggled with the dust. We made up for it, but the issues with the pit limiter were unlucky. Johan’s performance was super impressive. It is such fun to watch him race and I am very happy to be in his team. Tomorrow is going to be good.”
The races begin on Sunday from 09.00 to 14.00 GMT. For information on how to watch the Desert X Prix, please visit https://www.extreme-e.com/en/broadcast-information. ENDS