The first ever races of Extreme E have taken place and they were all a fight off the line.
The two races that decide who races in the final were all decided at the first gate. For the cars in second and third it became pointless once they were in the sandstorm style dust clouds behind the lead car.
The clear sky in front was the advantage that ruined the hopes of the non lead cars.
Rosberg X Racing won the very first Extreme E Semi Final in the desert in Saudi Arabia. And are joined in the final by the X44 car.
Johan Kristofferson took the start from what was supposed to be the worst starting position. Him and the other two drivers, the X44 of Sebastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz of the Acciona Sainz were all side by side off the line and were frantically trying to get the advantage for the first gates.
Sainz pushed Kristofferson out wide and he stayed there whilst Loeb did his own thing to set himself up for the inside line.
Sainz moved over to cover Loeb but was not ahead so they were side by side and Kristofferson got past both of them after taking way more speed into the corner with a wide line.
Then he just waltzed away.
Molly Taylor hammered home their gap as well when she took over the car and carried on with the excellent driving that her teammate started.
Cristina Guitterez and Laia Sanz carried on where Loeb and Sainz left off too and that was how the race ended.
— Extreme E (@ExtremeELive) April 4, 2021
1st. Rosberg X Racing
2nd. X44 +28.91s
3rd. Acciona Sainz XE Team + 1m 06.82s
Timmy Hansen for the Andretti United Team nailed the start and was long gone by the first gate and he and teammate Catie Munnings were a step above their rivals to earn a final place.
They qualified in fourth even with a compromised qualifying after a vicious puncture which they drove through and the Rallycross champion Hansen just left their rivals at the line and led from then on.
Hansen pushed hard for his lap and could be seen on the edge for most of the lap before Munnings did the same to bring it home.
The Hispano Suiza car of Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli Zonca came second in that race with Jenson Button’s and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky’s JBXE a distant third.
YESSSSS! They’ve done it!
Our Andretti United drivers have won the “crazy race” and are in today’s final which means a guaranteed podium at the first ever @ExtremeELive race! Incredible work from our #AUXE drivers 👏🏻#ExtremeE @catierallye1 @Timmy_Hansen pic.twitter.com/r6SwGqVpK4
— Andretti United Extreme E (@andrettiunited) April 4, 2021
1st. Andretti United XE
2nd. Hispano Suiza XITE + 30.34
3rd. JBXE + 1m 06.66
The Final Grid
So the cars competing in the final are:
Rosberg X Racing – Johan Kristofferson and Molly Taylor
X44 – Cristina Guttierez and Sebastien Loeb
Andretti United – Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings
It will probably be more of the same with a fight to the first corner but how that plays out is an unknown.
The grid is being set by Grid Play which is a public vote where people can vote for their favourites to give them the choice of grid slot.
But grids seemed to offer little help this morning so whether they’ll help for the final is yet to be seen.
The final is at 12 noon BST.