Nico Rosberg is partying like it’s 2016. Five years after beating Mercedes team-mate Lewis Hamilton for the Formula One World Driver’s Championship, his Rosberg X Racing team defeated Hamilton’s Team X44 for the inaugural Extreme E crown.
Despite Team X44’s best efforts in the season-ending Jurassic X-Prix as Cristina Gutiérrez and Sébastien Loeb won qualifying, their semi-final, and the final race to notch 155 total points, they lost on a tiebreaker to the Rosberg X car piloted by Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor on race victories: RXR had three to X44’s one.
The Kristoffersson/Taylor duo hit the ground running early in the year by winning all but one of the first four rounds (Andretti United XE‘s Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen broke up the streak at the Arctic X-Prix after technical issues and a rollover plagued the Rosberg team). Entering the Jurassic X-Prix held at Dorset, United Kingdom, RXR maintained a sixteen-point advantage over X44.
X44 set the fastest time in qualifying while Rosberg placed fourth, and both teams won their respective semi-finals. RXR only needed to finish fourth to clinch the title even if X44 won and claimed the five bonus points for having the best Continental Traction Challenge time. The latter was ultimately achieved, but RXR placed fourth after starting second and therefore secured the championship on the tiebreaker.
“We are so delighted to be crowned the inaugural Extreme E Champions and I am really proud of the entire RXR team,” said Rosberg. “The team has worked so hard all season and performed consistently, racing in some of the world’s most remote locations. To be champions is such an honour.
“A massive congratulations to our drivers, Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson, who have been excellent all season. We came into Extreme E to raise awareness of climate change, and promote sustainability, but also as a racing team, we want to win and so we will remember this feeling forever.”
“This has been a new racing series, new team, and new locations but we’ve worked so hard to get here, and to be champions really feels amazing,” said Kristoffersson. “Molly drove excellently today, managing the challenging conditions and I knew that all that remained for me was to not make any mistakes and bring the car home safely. We’re delighted to be champions and look forward to celebrating with the team.”
For Taylor, she enjoys another title after winning the 2016 Australian Rally Championship; she is the only female winner of that series.
“This season has been brutal, racing in some of the most remote parts of the world in truly extreme conditions but we’ve worked together as a team and we’re delighted with this result,” commented Taylor. “The nerves were definitely there today but Johan and I kept our eyes on the final prize, and the whole team effort across many months has brought us to this point today.”
Another F1 alumnus-led team, JBXE run by Hamilton’s ex-McLaren team-mate Jenson Button for Kevin Hansen and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, finished third in the championship with 119 points. Despite not winning a race, JBXE was second in the Arctic and Jurassic finals and won a pair of Crazy Races at the Arctic and Island X-Prixs. Andretti, the only other team to win a final, was fourth.