Rosberg X Racing returned to a familiar position by topping both parts of qualifying for round three of the Extreme E season, the second part of the Island X Prix double-header.
After Team X44 snapped RXR’s unbeaten qualifying streak earlier in the week, it then had a round win taken off it due to a penalty.
The team dominated the timed first qualifying session of this round, Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Johan Kristoffersson’s combined two lap, two driver time of 9m00.503 coming in at 10.741s quicker than Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sara Price and Kyle LeDuc.
There were no practice sessions, with the same course as earlier in the week being used.
RXR was first to run in the opening qualifying session, and with the track being watered just beforehand, was able to fully capitalize on the optimal track conditions.
X44’s Cristina Gutiérrez and Sebastien Loeb were third quickest in Q1, ahead of McLaren’s Emma Gilmour and Tanner Foust, that team bouncing back from a mammoth rebuild after Gilmour rolled out of round two earlier in the week.
Andretti United’s Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen rounded out the top five ahead of the Abt Cupra duo of Jutta Kleinschmidt and Nasser Al-Attiyah, who was the only driver to better one of Kristoffersson’s sector times, doing so in the first split.
Hedda Hosås and Kevin Hasen for JBXE was seventh fastest ahead of Acciona Sainz’s Laia Sanz and Carlos Sainz — another team using a fresh chassis after Sainz’s heavy accident on Thursday.
XITE Energy Racing’s Tamara Molinaro and Timo Scheider, and Veloce’s Lance Woolridge and Christine Giampaoli Zonca completed the table in the timed session, that team being the only driver to send its male driver out first.
In the first heat race of Q2, RXR’s Kristoffersson used the “Hyperdrive” power boost off the start to snatch an early lead he wouldn’t relinquish, despite a strong challenge from Loeb.
The field split at the start, with Kristoffersson, Loeb, and Kevin Hansen all taking the route to the left, with Timmy Hansen and Timo Scheider going right. Timmy Hansen spun with broken right-rear suspension early on, right in front of Scheider, further increasing the gap between both groups.
The failure for Hansen’s Andretti car eventually resulted in a DNF and a crucial non-score for Q2, severely affecting its final qualifying standing.
At the midpoint driver change, Kristoffersson held a slender 1.4s advantage over Loeb, with Kevin Hansen a further 2.37s back. Schieder got by the wounded Andretti car of Timmy Hansen, but was 9.6s off the race leader.
With the teams’ other drivers now in place, Ahlin-Kottulinsky put the hammer down and took off from X44’s Gutiérrez, eventually crossing the line 7.875s ahead of the Spaniard, although the Lewis Hamilton-backed team would eventually receive a 15.350s penalty (15 seconds, plus the time gained) for a switch zone infringement. The added time would prove to be inconsequential, however, with it still finishing 0.052s ahead of third placed XITE.
Molinaro — racing with a shoulder injury after briefly dislocating it during Thursday’s final — was able to overhaul JBXE’s Hosås for that third spot, after the young Norwegian spun on her racing lap. Veloce finished, albeit 29.363s off the winner’s pace.
The second heat race began in a similar fashion to the first, with Foust and Christine GZ taking the route to the right, and Sainz, LeDuc, and Al-Attiyah going left. Sainz closed the door on LeDuc right away to take the lead, the Hummer EV man tucking in behind, but remaining close. LeDuc had a look to pass at Waypoint 3, and again at 6, that time making contact, but remained behind.
In the squabble for third, Foust made a bold move past Al-Attiyah, and held station for the remainder of his lap. The other American in the field didn’t, however, LeDuc suffering a botched landing at a jump before Waypoint 25 that resulted in him going off-course. He recovered to fourth, ahead of Christine GZ, and ended his lap 16.3s back from Sainz.
There would be further bad luck coming Ganassi’s way, both in the driver switch zone and the second tour, with the team getting a 15.45s penalty for a switch infringement (15s plus the time gained), and another 10s added to their time after Price dropped a flag at WP16.
Sanz, untroubled during her time in the car, took the win for Acciona Sainz, ahead of McLaren, Abt Cupra, and Veloce, Ganassi’s penalties dropping them to last in the heat.
Topping qualifying after the scores from both sessions were combined, RXR will once again line-up in the first semifinal along with Acciona Sainz (fourth) and Ganassi (fifth), where the top two finishers will advance to the final. The second semi will comprise X44 (second), McLaren (third), and Abt Cupra (sixth), with the remaining runners fighting it out in the ‘Crazy Race’ for the last spot in the main.