Rosberg X Racing has today taken victory in the Desert X Prix - the first race event in Extreme E history.
RXR drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor took a commanding win in the final to win by over 20 seconds and secure an historic victory plus an early championship lead after a weekend of intense competition in the desert in AlUla, Saudi Arabia.
The win leaves RXR with 35 points and a five-point lead in the championship standings, despite an event that saw technical issues beyond the team’s control threaten to undermine the pace and prowess shown by Taylor and Kristoffersson.
Despite setting the fastest combined times across Saturday’s two qualifying sessions, a time penalty caused by a software glitch with the car’s pit speed limiter demoted Kristoffersson and Taylor to P3 on the timesheets and last to pick their desired grid slot for the semi-finals. This left Kristoffersson lining up from the far right of the starting gate for the semi-final alongside Carlos Sainz of Acciona Sainz and Team X44’s Sebastien Loeb. A great launch aided by the car’s hyperdrive power boost gave Kristoffersson a narrow lead out of the gates; however, the Swede was soon out-dragged on the long run to Turn 1. Taking a wide line, Kristoffersson then pulled off a sweeping overtake to undercut Sainz and Loeb on the apex of the right-hand first corner to take the lead.
Extending his advantage to over 10 seconds ahead of the mandatory driver switch, Kristoffersson handed over to Taylor for the second lap of the semi-final. Taylor - who had proven to be the fastest female driver throughout the event - then extended RXR’s lead to 28.91 seconds by the chequered flag, finishing ahead of Cristina Gutierrez (Team X44) and Lana Sanz (Acciona Sainz) to seal a place in the final.
Lining up in the middle of the starting gate for the final, Kristoffersson again took the start but failed to get the hole shot as Timmy Hansen took an early lead for Andretti United. Kristoffersson then faced another drag race to Turn 1 against Loeb before repeating his flamboyant semi-final overtake to undercut Hansen and pull clear of the chasing duo on the run to Turn 2 & 3. A stunning opening lap saw Krisoffersson pull 30-seconds clear of the Andretti United car as he headed into the switch zone to hand over to Taylor, who completed a measured and controlled second lap to take the first X Prix win in Extreme E history by 23.29 seconds.
Reflecting on the weekend, Rosberg X Racing driver Johan Kristoffersson said: “Huge congratulations to the team for all the work they’ve done to get us here on the top step of the podium. We overcame a small issue yesterday with the time penalty, but the team stayed focused, and we’ve had a fantastic day today with the win in the semi-final and the final. The car felt great and the racing was exciting at the start of both races, so I’m really happy that Molly and I could take the win for everyone at RXR and all of our amazing fans.”
Molly Taylor, Rosberg X Racing driver, added: “It’s been an amazing start to the season. We all arrived in AlUla not knowing what to expect, and even with every lap and every kilometre we completed we were learning something new about the car and the course. We’ve been among the fastest team in every session and really that’s credit to the amazing work everyone at RXR has done in the build up to this race. I need to say thanks to Johan too for his amazing overtaking moves in the semi-final and final today. He got our ODYSSEY 21 into a great position which meant I just had to focus on bringing the car home.”
Nico Rosberg, Founder & CEO of Rosberg X Racing, said: “To win the first-ever X Prix with a team that is driven by a commitment to inspire positive change feels truly amazing. I’m so thankful to everyone at RXR for all the effort we’ve put in ahead of the event and throughout the weekend - this win is down to the amazing teamwork and spirit we have at RXR, and I think that was demonstrated perfectly by Johan and Molly in the car. Both drivers haven’t put a foot wrong and have shown incredible speed in testing and across the whole weekend. I’m very proud to have both of them as ambassadors for our racing efforts and commitment to raising awareness and taking action to protect our planet.”