Rosberg X Racing’s Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson made history in the Alula desert in Saudi Arabia on Sunday as they became the first team to win an Extreme E event. Speaking following the race, team owner and 2016 Formula One world champion Nico Rosberg commented saying:

This is insane. I’m so thankful to the whole team for the effort put in this weekend, which has been intense and really on-the-edge. Everything has come together so well and everybody has worked together so well.

“We have a fantastic team of engineers and mechanics, who prepared perfectly for this first weekend with so many unknowns, and Molly and Johan produced some phenomenal driving. Neither of them put a foot wrong in really tough conditions, and they both showed unbelievable speed out there – their performance was really inspiring and I felt really proud watching them. To come back to claim victory after a 60-second penalty caused by a technical problem is just awesome, and they are definitely deserving winners. For the championship as a whole, it’s really been a good start.

Extreme E founder and CEO Alejandro Agag commented on the opening race action of the season saying:

We’ve worked so hard on this for many years, and finally everything has come together this weekend. It really has been beyond my wildest expectations. If I had written a script for the perfect weekend, I could not have come up with anything better than what we have witnessed these past two days – I’ve never seen such extreme racing in my life.

“This first race weekend will have a huge influence on how Extreme E evolves, and one of the reasons I feel so proud is that we have built this platform where female drivers can shine like they deserve. What we have seen from them here is extraordinary – some incredible talent and courage – and overall, I think it’s fair to say we have really made our mark. I’m over the moon.

Race winner Molly Taylor of Rosberg X Racing commented following the victory saying:

What an amazing start to the season! It feels a bit surreal, with so much anticipation and preparation leading into the weekend and we all came here not really knowing what to expect. It was definitely extreme. It was the first time we had experienced terrain like that, and on every lap, the course was changing – there were so many different variables to deal with. We just wanted to make the most of the little time we had in the car – every single kilometre.

“We had a small issue in the pit-lane during Qualifying, but aside from that we were the quickest in every session. You have to be fast when it counts, be smart when it counts and take the big moves when it counts, and for it to all come together when it mattered was really special. Huge thanks to Johan – his opening laps were just insane – and the team has done such an incredible amount of work behind-the-scenes.

“It’s pretty cool to be part of this journey at the start of something that I think has an amazing future. This series is really throwing the traditional rule book out of the window and starting afresh, and I think everyone will agree it was spectacular to watch. The male drivers we have here are the best in any motorsport category in the world, so it’s an awesome opportunity for us female drivers and a real investment in the development of female racing talent. This is just a dream come true all-round.”

Johan Kristoffersson commented saying:

First of all, huge congratulations to the team. We had some minor issues but we came here very well-prepared, which made our life so much easier out on-track. This sport isn’t only about the drivers; it’s about the team giving us the tools to do the job. With such a limited amount of track time, you need to have confidence that the car will do what you ask of it – and the Rosberg X Racing guys did an amazing job to give Molly and myself such a great car.

“Molly performed fantastically; it was her that made the difference in the first Qualifying session. When you’re in the lead, you need to strike the right balance between backing off too much and risking too much, which is a new learning experience in this situation.

“In the Semi-Final and especially the Final, I really didn’t want to be in the dust after seeing some of the on-boards! Those first 30 seconds of the race are what you are really working for, when the adrenaline is pumping the fastest – we’re all adrenaline junkies here, and that’s the feeling you really want. It’s been such an amazing team effort overall, and I’m just super happy and already looking forward to the next event in Senegal – after a few weeks off first!

Andretti United XE driver Catie Munnings who came home second commented on the event saying:

First of all, huge congratulations to the team. We had some minor issues but we came here very well-prepared, which made our life so much easier out on-track. This sport isn’t only about the drivers; it’s about the team giving us the tools to do the job. With such a limited amount of track time, you need to have confidence that the car will do what you ask of it – and the Rosberg X Racing guys did an amazing job to give Molly and myself such a great car.

“Molly performed fantastically; it was her that made the difference in the first Qualifying session. When you’re in the lead, you need to strike the right balance between backing off too much and risking too much, which is a new learning experience in this situation.

“In the Semi-Final and especially the Final, I really didn’t want to be in the dust after seeing some of the on-boards! Those first 30 seconds of the race are what you are really working for, when the adrenaline is pumping the fastest – we’re all adrenaline junkies here, and that’s the feeling you really want. It’s been such an amazing team effort overall, and I’m just super happy and already looking forward to the next event in Senegal – after a few weeks off first!

Sweden’s Timmy Hansen who shares the Andretti United XE car with Munnings commented saying:

This feels amazing. After Q1, this kind of result really felt a long way off. What a performance by Catie in Qualifying to keep the car on-track with the puncture; she brought our ODYSSEY 21 home and with a good time, too. That was a key moment for us this weekend. We were still the underdogs, but it felt like it all came together in the Crazy Race, which was a ‘must-win’.

“I think GridPlay was very important for us in the Final. That allowed us to choose our starting position and from there, I got way more traction than the others and could pull a gap straightaway. Obviously I’m a bit disappointed that we couldn’t keep the lead, but Johan [Kristoffersson] pulled a mega move into the chicane so congratulations to Rosberg X Racing. I’m still really happy to finish second in the first-ever Extreme E event. Catie and the whole team did a fantastic job throughout.

“Senegal next time out will be a completely different proposition, and almost like starting from zero again. With so many high-profile teams and drivers, we will have to be on our toes and work even harder. Massive congratulations to Alejandro Agag and the entire Extreme E organisation; to pull this idea off at such a high level is astonishing. It has exceeded any expectations that I had, and I’m excited to see where this championship will take off to. I think Extreme E has an incredibly bright future.

X44, the team founded by defending Formula One world champion Lewis Hamilton completed the podium with Cristina Gutierrez who commented saying:

The whole weekend has been really good, and it all just came down to some bad luck in the Final with the power steering breaking. There was nothing we could do about that, so we have to be pleased to finish third.

“I’m very happy to be in such a great team. I spoke to Lewis [Hamilton – X44 Founder] during the weekend and he gave me a lot of advice and tips, and now I’m looking forward to going to Senegal to try to win. Extreme E offers such a great opportunity for female drivers to race directly against so many legends of the sport, and I’m so proud to be a part of it

Nine-time FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb was delighted with his third-place finish saying:

It was a good weekend overall, scoring some good points, finishing on the podium in the first event of the season and leaving sitting second in the championship. For sure, we expected to do better in the Final, but entering the first corner, we lost the power steering – and without that, a car this big and heavy is just so difficult to drive and it became a hard battle to keep it on the track.

“That was a bit disappointing, but for the rest I’m happy with the weekend and the team did a great job. The main thing is that we showed that together, we can fight for the win. Both Cristina and I were very fast, so I think we have a good chance for the rest of the season.

Final Result

  1. Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 2 laps
  2. Andretti United (Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) +23.73s
  3. X44 (Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez) +1m38.09s

With the Desert X Prix now done-and-dusted, the cars will be loaded back onto the St. Helena – Extreme E’s floating centrepiece – to set sail for Lac Rose in Senegal, the setting for the Ocean X Prix on 29/30 May.

Championship Standings

  1. Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 35 points
  2. X44 (Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez) 30 points
  3. Andretti United (Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) 28 points
  4. ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team (Carlos Sainz / Laia Sanz) 26 points
  5. Hispano Suiza XITE Energy Team (Oliver Bennett / Christine Giampaoli Zonca) 20 points
  6. JBXE (Jenson Button / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky) 17 points
  7. ABT Cupra XE (Mattias Ekström / Claudia Hürtgen) 13 points
  8. Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price) 12 points
  9. Veloce Racing (Stéphane Sarrazin / Jamie Chadwick) 8 points
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