Maiden Extreme E weekend victory goes to Nico Rosberg’s X Racing team, with Lewis Hamilton’s X44 outfit finishing third; Jenson Button takes sixth; Another big crash on Sunday, this time between two drivers for the first time

By James Galloway

Last Updated: 04/04/21 1:32pm

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Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Leduc collided with ABT CUPRA’s Claudia Hurtgen in the Shootout race, her second big crash of the weekend

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle Leduc collided with ABT CUPRA’s Claudia Hurtgen in the Shootout race, her second big crash of the weekend

Nico Rosberg’s team won the inaugural Extreme E weekend by triumphing in the Desert X Prix’s final on Sunday.

The new all-electric motorsport format focused on sustainability, which started with time trials on Saturday and then continued with semi-final heats on Sunday morning, saw the respective teams owned by former F1 rivals Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton joined by Andretti United in the grand final.

Amid the challenging desert conditions of sand and rock, Rosberg X Racing’s Johan Kristoffersson, a three-time World Rallycross champion, claimed the lead with a switchback into Turn One from a fast-starting Andretti United car of Timmy Hansen.

After the mandatory driver switchover at the end of the first lap, team-mate Molly Taylor comfortably held the position through the second 9km tour to secure the maiden win for Rosberg and his team.

Hamilton’s X44 team finished third, with nine-time Rally champion Sebastien Loeb losing ground at the start.

“It’s insane,” said 2016 F1 champion, Sky Sports pundit and now Extreme E team owner Rosberg, who has been in attendance in Saudi Arabia.

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It was a tense start, as the top three teams lined up for the final race in the first ever Extreme E X Prix in the desert of Saudi Arabia.

It was a tense start, as the top three teams lined up for the final race in the first ever Extreme E X Prix in the desert of Saudi Arabia.

“Just so thankful for the whole effort the team did this weekend. We have worked together so well and specifically Molly and Johan, what phenomenal driving they have done all weekend. It has been such tough conditions and they have not a foot wrong.

“Awesome.”

Desert X Prix: Final result

Rosberg’s team earlier won the semi-final, the first time the Extreme E cars had gone wheel to wheel, and had also set the fastest aggregated time in qualifying only for a time penalty to drop them to third in that classification.

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Ahead of the first ever Extreme E race in Saudi Arabia, X44 team owner and 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton speaks about the new Championship both on and off the track.

Ahead of the first ever Extreme E race in Saudi Arabia, X44 team owner and 7-time World Champion Lewis Hamilton speaks about the new Championship both on and off the track.

Sky F1’s Jenson Button and his JBXE team had earlier finished in sixth place overall after taking third in the second semi-final, dubbed the ‘Crazy Race’, from which winners Andretti United qualified for the final.

Sunday morning also featured a ‘Shootout’ race featuring the slowest teams from qualifying, from which championship points were available but not qualification for the final.

That race produced the second day’s big incident when the only two participants collided on the second and final lap. Chip Ganassi’s Kyle Leduc had been unsighted in the dust as he fast-caught Claudia Hurgten’s and slammed into the back of the ABT Cupra SUV.

On Saturday, Hurgten had had a huge accident when her SUV barrel-rolled twice.

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ABT CUPRA driver Claudia Hürtgen has a huge crash during the opening qualifying session of Extreme E, sending her car into a barrel roll.

ABT CUPRA driver Claudia Hürtgen has a huge crash during the opening qualifying session of Extreme E, sending her car into a barrel roll.

The Veloce team were forced to pull out mid-way through Saturday’s running due to damage after Stephane Sarrazin crashed in first qualifying, meaning British team-mate Jamie Chadwick was unable to complete a competitive lap all weekend.

When’s the next Extreme E X Prix?

It’s from the Saudi Arabian desert to the Lac Rose in Senegal for round two and Ocean X Prix, which takes place on May 29-30. Sand, salt beds, gravel, rocks and undulations, the event on the west coast of Africa will shed light on rising sea levels, marine ecosystem degradation and desertification.

The season features five events in total.

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