Acciona Sainz’s first Extreme E win with drivers Mattias Ekstrom and Laia Sanz in the second race of the season in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, comes after two years of near-misses. Sanz, who has been a constant in the team during that time, was especially pleased to finally get the monkey off her back.
“Finally! We did a good job, not only this weekend, but these two years with Carlos (Sainz) and all the team,” she said. “I think he really deserved this win and they deserved this win, and I’m super-happy also with Mattias — he helped me so much and finally we got good results this weekend.
The win was also a first for former-Abt Cupra driver Ekstrom, who was a late addition to the team, filling in for team boss Carlos Sainz. The rallying legend was sidelined by the spinal fractures he suffered in an accident during the Dakar Rally in January.
“It’s always great to win races and be on the podium, but I think this one is a little different as it was a late call because of Carlos’ accident at Dakar so he can’t drive,” he said. “I’m really happy that he called me and trusts me to step in for him, and then to get to meet Laia and the team has been a lot of fun.”
Despite the strong start to the season, with a second place and a win, Ekstrom predicts he won’t last long in the team, although he does expect to retain his seat for the Hydro X Prix in Scotland on May 13-14.
“Yeah, I think so,” he said when asked if he will be back for the next event. “Carlos will need more time to recover and I’m pretty sure when he is fit I’ll be sacked immediately!”
With a win and a second, and a reverse of that result on Sunday, Veloce and Acciona Sainz sit top of the points with 46. RXR occupy third, with X44 and Ganassi rounding out the top five.
Extreme E standings after Round 2
Veloce Racing 46 pts
Acciona Sainz 46 pts
Rosberg X Racing 31 pts
X44 Vida Carbon Racing 23 pts
GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing 21 pts
Abt Cupra XE 15 pts
NEOM McLaren Extreme E 14 pts
Carl Cox Motorsport 8 pts
JBXE 5 pts
Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E 5 pts