Nico Rosberg’s team has won the first ever Extreme E electric off-road racing series in Saudi Arabia, with Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor at the wheel.
Rosberg X Racing (RXR) took out the win in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, ahead of Andretti United with drivers Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings, and Lewis Hamilton’s team X44 with Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez behind the wheel.
“What an amazing start to the season. It feels a bit surreal, with so much anticipation and preparation leading into the weekend and we all came here not really knowing what to expect,” said Taylor after the win. “It was definitely extreme. It was the first time we had experienced terrain like that, and on every lap, the course was changing – there were so many different variables to deal with. We just wanted to make the most of the little time we had in the car – every single kilometre.”
Dubbed ‘Star Wars pod racing meets Dakar Rally’, the five-round championship is racing in five locations impacted by climate change during its 2021 inaugural season.
“It’s pretty cool to be part of this journey at the start of something that I think has an amazing future,” added the record-breaking Australian Rally Championship winner. “This series is really throwing the traditional rulebook out of the window and starting afresh, and I think everyone will agree it was spectacular to watch.”
The moment Molly Taylor took the first ever X Prix victory! ??
— Extreme E (@ExtremeELive) April 4, 2021
The pioneering electric off-road series sees teams of legendary male and female drivers pair up to compete in two-lap races across the rugged terrain.
The dramatic desert dust-up in Saudi was divided into a qualifying day that set the order of race day, then on Sunday the drivers went wheel to wheel in an action-packed race that has drawn plenty of praise from racing fans the world over.
“If I had written a script for the perfect weekend, I could not have come up with anything better than what we have witnessed these past two days — I’ve never seen such extreme racing in my life,” said Alejandro Agag, founder and CEO of Extreme E. “This first race weekend will have a huge influence on how Extreme E evolves, and one of the reasons I feel so proud is that we have built this platform where female drivers can shine like they deserve. What we have seen from them here is extraordinary — some incredible talent and courage — and overall, I think it’s fair to say we have really made our mark. I’m over the moon.”
RXR’s Kristoffersson and Taylor stormed to victory despite a 60-second penalty and less than favourable grid slots in both the semi-final and final. It was an incredible display of skill and car control on a surface with natural obstacles that included sand pits, sand dunes, grass, bushes, and blind crests, making overtaking a much more difficult tactic to manoeuvre.
“This is insane. I’m so thankful to the whole team for the effort put in this weekend, which has been intense and really on-the-edge,” said Nico Rosberg, Rosberg X Racing founder and CEO. “Molly and Johan produced some phenomenal driving. Neither of them put a foot wrong in really tough conditions, and they both showed unbelievable speed out there — their performance was really inspiring and I felt really proud watching them.”
Extreme E selected AlUla to highlight the importance of deserts as biologically important ecosystems while the misuse of natural resources is the main cause of desertification and loss of biological diversity.
Up next in the schedule is the Ocean XPrix at Lac Rose in Dakar, Senegal on 29th and 30th May. That is followed by the Arctic XPrix in Greenland, the Amazon XPrix in Brazil, and the Glacier EPrix in Argentina.
Photos source: Extreme E