The Rosberg X Racing team wrote themselves into history on Sunday by becoming the first-ever winners of an Extreme E race as the driver duo of Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor took home the trophy at the Desert X Prix in Saudi Arabia.
The duo have been dominated the field for the most part of the weekend, almost took an easy clean-sweep if it wasn´t for the costly time penalty on Saturday during Qualifying 2, which occured during the driver switch.
Beside that mistake on Saturday, the team won the semi-final earlier on Sunday morning and from there they booked a ticket for the first-ever final which they won. Three-time FIA World Rallycross Champion Kristoffersson once again did the unexpected move by taking a wider line as they headed into the second turn which led to he could pass his main rallycross rival Timmy Hansen on the inside and from there he had a comfortable lead all the way to the driver switching, as the visibility from the dust caused Hansen and nine-time FIA World Rally Champion Sebastien Loeb to back off.
“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,” Kristoffersson said.
“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!”
Molly Taylor: “What an amazing start to the season! It feels a bit surreal”
After the driver switch, it was the Australian rally driver Taylor that took the control of the XRX´s Odyssey 21 E-SUV, as her team-mate Kristoffersson managed to build up a large gap, the only thing for her to do was to take the car safely over the finish-line.
Taylor sure did that, she was calm and took it easy over the bumps and rocks, despite that the rest of the field didn´t manage to close down the gap to her. As she became the first-ever female driver to win an Extreme E round, Taylor admitts it was an awesome opportunity for the female drivers to be involved in this new motorsport discipline.
“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.” Taylor said.
“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.”