Rosberg X Racing today made a strong start to its inaugural Extreme E campaign by finishing P3 at the end of two time-trial qualifying sessions in AlUla, Saudi Arabia.
Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson combined to set the fastest times across both qualifying sessions in the desert, only for a 60-second time penalty caused by a technical issue with the car's speed limiter to drop the team to P3 overall. The result still leaves RXR with an automatic spot in tomorrow's Desert X Prix semi-finals.
Qualifying 1 marked Extreme E's first-ever competitive session with each team permitted to send both drivers out for one timed lap of the course either side of a driver swap. Kristoffersson took to the course first for RXR, putting in a smooth lap to clock a 4m39.692s lap time in the dunes before arriving in the driver change zone for "The Switch" and handing over to Taylor.
Following the mandatory 45-second hold for the driver switch, Taylor emerged out on the course and was immediately on the pace, controlling several big slides at the wheel of the ODYSSEY 21. Across approximately 15 kilometres plus the additional time for spent in the switch zone, Taylor put in the fastest second lap of the whole session with a 6m03.873s to place RXR on top with a combined lap time of 10m43.565s, 4.5s ahead of Team X44.
With all cars running at reduced power for Qualifying 2, Kristoffersson set a 5m06.455s on RXR's first timed lap before handing over to Taylor. A technical issue with the car’s speed limiter during the driver switch however left the team with a 60-second penalty added to its final combined time - a 22m46.823s - which still proved good enough for P3 overall and a place in tomorrow's semi-finals.
Following the two qualifying sessions, Rosberg X Racing driver Molly Taylor said: "It's been a strong start to the weekend for RXR, and I'm happy with our performance. The track is changing a lot during the sessions because of the ruts and new tyre tracks that are appearing, so every lap feels different to the last and is a new challenge. We had some wild moments in Qualifying 1, but we managed to keep it pinned to go fastest. We were frustrated to be hit with the time penalty thanks to a technical issue in Qualifying 2, but our full focus now is preparing for the semi-finals and maximising our points from the X Prix."
Johan Kristoffersson, Rosberg X Racing driver, added: "It's been an intense start to the weekend, but the team has done a great job to help us go P3 in Qualifying, score strong points and put us into the semifinals for tomorrow. Me and Molly are both learning more about the car every time we head out on the course, and we have a lot of feedback to run through with the engineers to make sure we are in a strong position for tomorrow.
Kimmo Liimatainen, Rosberg X Racing Team Principal, said: "It's been an interesting day for the team. We were disappointed to receive the time penalty for an issue out of our control, but we'll analyse the footage and learn from it. Molly and Johan have done a great job out on the course and together with the team we are confident we have a strong package for the semi-finals. We'll analyse the data this evening and get ready for the first-ever wheel-to-wheel racing in tomorrow's semi-finals."