Acciona Sainz edges Veloce for NEOM Extreme E round 2 win

Sam Bagnall/Motorsport Images

Acciona Sainz edges Veloce for NEOM Extreme E round 2 win

Extreme E

Acciona Sainz edges Veloce for NEOM Extreme E round 2 win


Acciona Sainz made it two new winners from two by taking its maiden victory in the second part of the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia. In a reverse of yesterday’s top-two, Mattias Ekstrom and Laia Sanz held off Veloce Racing’s Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor in the final.

Ekstrom made a strong getaway from the second spot on the inside of the grid, closing the door on Kevin Hansen right away to lead through the first Waypoint. Rosberg X Racing’s Johan Kristoffersson looked to challenge the lead pair but a sideways moment into Waypoint 2 dropped him back.

That wasn’t the only hiccup in the podium places, with Kevin Hansen accidentally hitting the pit limiter going into Waypoint 6, dropping him way off Ekstrom out in front. The mistake also allowed Kristoffersson to get by, but the positions reversed on the following lap when Hansen made a move around the outside going into Waypoint 13 stick, having tried a pass earlier in the lap on the approach to the beach.

Ekstrom’s lead at the mid-race driver switch was 6.326s and the top three positions remained firm for the final two laps when the female drivers — Sanz, Taylor, and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky of RXR — took over.

Sanz eventually crossed the line 5.527s ahead of Taylor, with Ahlin-Kottulinsky a further 1.902s back.

The final two positions were occupied by Abt Cupra (Klara Andersson and Nasser Al-Attiyah) and GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing (RJ Anderson and Amanda Sorensen).

The Cupra team started the day with a 30-second penalty in their first heat race after switching to the championship’s spare car due to the extensive damage sustained by its primary yesterday, but a solid finish in that first race, and a win in the second, secured Cupra a spot in the final.

There, the team — which was the only one to run its female driver first — couldn’t quite match the pace of the leaders, but a storming charge from Al-Attiyah overturned a 20 second deficit, and moved the team up to fourth with a daring two-wheeled pass on Sorensen approaching Waypoint 6.

Desert X Prix II Final

1. Acciona Sainz 11m 10.821s
2. Veloce Racing +5.527
3. Rosberg X Racing +7.429
4. Abt Cupra +7.987
5. GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing +22.321

Ahead of the final, Veloce won its two qualifying heats — briefly losing the first to a speeding penalty that was quickly overturned after reviewing the in-car data. RXR and Abt Cupra won the others.

Veloce Racing shows the toll taken by the rugged action, here leading X44 Vida Carbon Racing. Colin McMaster/Motorsport Images

In the redemption race, X44 Vida Carbon Racing’s Fraser McConnel and Cristina Gutierrez won ahead of McLaren, Andretti Altawkilat, and Carl Cox Motorsport, with JBXE failing to make the finish.

Carl Cox Motorsport’s Timo Scheider had the best getaway, but his lead was short-lived as McConnell got by into the first turn. Behind them, McLaren’s Tanner Foust found a way past Andretti’s Timmy Hansen, that team finding itself in the consolation race after a third roll in two days during one of the earlier qualifying heats.

At the driver change, a slow stop for X44, with Gutierrez now at the wheel, handed a narrow lead to Carl Cox Motorsport’s Christine Giampaoli Zonca on the Switch Zone exit, but Gutierrez was to retake the point at Waypoint 6.

GZ’s race went from bad to worse on her second lap, with a slow, soft roll, and while she was able to finish the race, she fell to fourth behind McLaren’s Emma Gilmour and the Andretti car of Catie Munnings.

The JBXE car of Heikki Kovalainen and Hedda Hosas was classified fifth after rolling out on the final lap.

Desert X Prix II redemption race

1. X44 X44 Vida Carbon Racing 11m 10.132s
2. McLaren + 10.150
3. Andretti Altawkilat +33.296
4. Carl Cox Motorsport +2:27.834