Rosberg X Racing’s Johan Kristofferson and Molly Taylor, have made history sealing their victory during the final of the Desert X Prix, the inaugural round of Extreme E, which was held this Sunday in Saudi Arabia.
Victory, however, hasn’t come easy for the couple, as the Swedish driver had to make up for a bad start at the final heat in order to beat Timmy Hansen.
The latter, together with Catie Munnings of Andretti United have taken second place. A very meritorious position for the American squad which had to overcome several incidents over the previous days.
For their part, Team X44, made up of nine-time WRC champion Sébastien Loeb and Spaniard Cristina Gutiérrez, completed the Champaigne positions. The drivers from the team owned by seven-time Formula 1 champion Lewis Hamilton, however, were not satisfied with their result.
After what happened at the semi-final and at the ‘Crazy Race’, both events not as exciting and significant as expected, the start of the final assault became one of the decisive moments in the Middle East appointment. It was then that Hansen managed to take Kristoffersson and Loeb by surprise.
The Swede from Andretti United succeeded in swiftly passing to the front of the trio, although his joy would not last long. Moments later, Kristofferson performed a risky manoeuvre to pass Hansen for the lead, enveloped as they were in a cloud of dust that drastically reduced their visibility.
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That bold overtaking allowed the driver from Nico Rosberg’s team to reach the top of the circuit as leader and to open ground with Hansen and Loeb. The next key moment in the race after that initial battle, came as teams approached the ‘pitlane’, the set area to perform the change of pilots.
With a comfortable 33-second advantage, Kristoffersson calmly got out of his vehicle to give up the seat to Molly Taylor. Behind them Hansen followed suit, giving the wheel of his Odyssey 21 to Catie Munnings for the second part of the race. The United Autosport duo was leading Sébastien Loeb’s X44 team by more than a minute at this point.
Loeb’s partner, Cris ‘Tortu’, got behind the wheel of the Odyssey 21 with no real chances to challenge her opponents ahead. Her disadvantage was so great that before the Spaniard had a chance to get into her car, her adversaries had already resumed their march.
At the head of the race, and with no one in front to lift any dust in her wake, Molly Taylor was flying towards the finish line. The RXR thus prevailed at Desert X Prix, and both she and her partner Kristoffersson made motorsport’s history by becoming the winners of the inaugural round of the all-new Extreme E competition.
With no surprises, Catie Munnings came in second onboard the Andretti’s Odyssey 21 that she shared with Hansen, 23.7 seconds behind the winners. Finally, Cristina Gutiérrez entered third, one minute and thirty-eight seconds from the top.
Images of Extreme E: RXR.