Rosberg X Racing teammates Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor reigned supreme once more at Extreme E’s second event in Lac Rose, Dakar, Senegal today with the duo overcoming intense pressure from their adversaries to be crowned winners of the Ocean X Prix.
It was high drama in the grand final for the electric SUV off-road racing series with two of the four cars retiring at the first corner. That left Rosberg X Racing to extend its championship lead and Veloce Racing to snatch a surprise result, bouncing back from a disastrous Desert X Prix.
The tight and technical Ocean X Prix course was a hit with the all-star field of Extreme E drivers and yielded close racing and several options for alternate routes which were deployed throughout the two days of competition.
It was Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle LeDuc who took the Super Sector title, earning an extra five points for his team setting the fastest time of 1m50.891s — 1.289s ahead of X44’s Sebastien Loeb.
AS IT HAPPENED
Drama unfolded before the first corner in the Ocean X prix grand Final as GridPlay winners Veloce Racing opted to start on the third grid slot, but the advantage was quickly lost as Stephane Sarrazin was squeezed out at the first gate dropping back to last position.
Molly Taylor and Sarrazin were therefore left to duke it out for the lead, with the Frenchman closing the gap throughout the lap and ending his stint hot on the heels of the 2016 Australian Rally champion.
To ensure officials could safely clear the stricken X44 and JBXE cars, a brief red flag was deployed, as the intense battle for the lead was put on hold whilst the drivers made their way into the switch zone.
A standing start restart was initiated as Jamie Chadwick and Johan Kristoffersson prepared for an all or nothing, one-lap showdown.
A close-fought drag race down to the first gate ended with light contact between the two ODYSSEY 21s handing Kristoffersson the advantage. Once he had reached the technical section of the course, the three-time FIA World Rallycross Champion began to stretch his legs opening up a 15-second advantage to win Rosberg X Racing’s second Extreme E X prix in succession.
Molly Taylor, Rosberg X Racing driver, said: “It’s so fantastic to have won today! Coming here, it felt like we had a lot of work to do over the weekend, and it certainly didn’t come easy, but with every session we just kept our heads down and just saw where we needed to improve, and everything totally paid off in the end.
“It’s difficult to predict anything in Extreme E even when you have the best laid plan, but the team was awesome, and Johan really did a phenomenal job too.
“Obviously, we didn’t get to choose our grid position for the final, so we were where we were and that for me was on the inside, so it was all about trying to get the track position – I really just tried to get that established as early as I could and then hold onto it. It’s a steep bank and pretty tight coming into turn one, and as I went through, I made some contact, but this is close racing and that can happen.
“A really huge thanks to the team who did an incredible job and to Johan, equally incredible.
“I’m just really delighted to have won and it’s been an amazing weekend!”
Johan Kristoffersson, Rosberg X Racing driver, said: “I’m super happy to be Extreme E winners for the second time! Molly executed everything perfectly, she did an amazing job taking care of the traffic in her lap – I was really impressed with that. The team also did a fantastic job, I have to say a big thanks to them for bringing me and Molly up to speed over the weekend, as we really weren’t the fastest coming into this event but in the end, we were quick where we needed to be and got good starts, so we couldn’t wish for more than that. It’s very important as well to keep the car in one piece as you get heavily penalized if you aren’t able to finish a race – so that in itself can be challenging as the racing is close here and there’s always the possibility of contact plus of course there’s the terrain which is hard on the cars – but it all makes for a great spectacle which is great.
“When I got in the car for the standing start for the final, the steering was a little bit off, so when I hit hyperdrive early on, it was a struggle to hold on to it – unfortunately this led to a bit of contact with Jamie which was not intentional at all. But from there on, the car was working really well, and I could do what I needed to do. And here we are as winners — happy days!”
Jamie Chadwick, Veloce Racing driver, said: “Honestly I’ve just really enjoyed the weekend. We went into the weekend with a bit of a plan, we needed the track time, the car wasn’t where we needed it to be at the beginning and I think we lacked a bit of seat time so our pace wasn’t outright quickest so we just focused on our plan.
“This is very different to driving single-seaters and I’m constantly learning and I can’t really underestimate that but I think everyone is, it’s new for everyone. I’m really really enjoying the challenge and I think the coolest thing for me this weekend was I nearly had the chance to be racing wheel to wheel with the likes of Sebastien Loeb and Johan Kristoffersson. To ever have thought that was going to happen is crazy.
“I think Extreme E’s such a crazy crazy championship that to take P2 with the alternate strategy was great. A massive, massive thanks to the team, I’m so grateful we’ve managed to get through the weekend and get a podium.
“Over the next three months we will be pushing hard to train, and Greenland will present a new challenge. I want to be able to jump in anything and be quick.”