NEOM: ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team secured a historic first win in Extreme E with a dominant run in the Grand Final, finishing ahead of Round 1 winners Veloce Racing in second and Rosberg X Racing (RXR) in third on the sands of NEOM.
Laia Sanz and Mattias Ekstrom, supported on-site by team owner Carlos Sainz Snr., dominated the race from start to finish, establishing a comfortable lead as Veloce Racing and RXR fought over the runners-up spot.
In fourth place were ABT CUPRA XE, having recovered well from a crash in Round 1’s Redemption Race to make it to the Grand Final second time around.
No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing finished fifth, marking two Grand Finals out of two for the team’s new driver-pairing of RJ Anderson and Extreme E newcomer Amanda Sorensen.
Winners of the Redemption Race were X44 Vida Carbon Racing. Having tied fifth in Qualifying with eventual Round 2 winners, ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, Fraser McConnell and Cristina Gutierrez lost out on a spot in the Grand Final due to a slower time in the Continental Traction Challenge.
X44 Vida Carbon Racing came back swinging, ending Round 2 with the quickest time in the Traction Challenge on their way to victory in the Redemption Race, securing a valuable 10 points in the championship battle.
The Desert X Prix double-header delivered two maiden victories over the weekend, with wins for Veloce Racing and ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team. What’s more, with the Round 2 podium featuring the same top three teams from Round 1, they will be the ones to watch as the series heads into the next X Prix weekend in Scotland on May 13-14.
Laia Sanz said: “I am very happy, both for myself and the team. We clinched our maiden win in Extreme E. I want to thank Mattias for giving me the car with such a good advantage over the rest of the field. I did a good stint and was able to keep the distance, so I am more than satisfied.
“This victory is for all the people on the team because they truly deserve it for all the work we have done to be in this position, especially for Carlos Sainz,” she added.
“It was an honor that he called me to ask if I wanted to race with him in Extreme E and I am trying to pay back his trust with all my motivation and my willingness to improve even further.
“I learned so much with him as my teammate and it is fantastic that he is with us here, helping us and giving advice. Today we can feel proud, but we must keep up the good work.”
Team-mate Ekstrom said: “We had designed a strategy for the Grand Final and I executed it as well as I could. I am really happy that it turned out to be fruitful. It is always easier to race in front and have a clear view in front than being behind another car and having to deal with all the dust. I really enjoyed every corner. Laia drove very well and managed the gap perfectly. It is a good victory for the team.”
The five teams that didn’t qualify for the final fought it out in the Redemption Race in pursuit of sixth to tenth place championship points.
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team 11:10.821
Veloce Racing +5.527
Rosberg X Racing +7.429
ABT CUPRA XE +7.987
No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing +22.321
X44 Vida Carbon Racing 11:10.132
NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team +10.150
Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E +33.296
Carl Cox Motorsport +2:43.534 (Penalised)
Veloce Racing: 46 points
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 46 points
Rosberg X Racing: 31 points
X44 Vida Carbon Racing: 23 points
No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing: 21 points
ABT CUPRA XE: 15 points
NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team: 14 points
Carl Cox Motorsport: 8 points
JBXE: 5 points
Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E: 5 points