RXR on top after XE semifinals

Rosberg Xtreme Racing take first in the opening semifinal race, with Andretti United the Crazy Race victors

Molly Taylor (AUS)/Johan Kristoffersson (SWE), Rosberg X Racing

Rosberg X Racing, Team X44, and Andretti United locked into the first Extreme E final after a pair of semifinal races at Saudi Arabia’s Desert X-Prix.

RXR dominated the opening semifinal, taking the lead at the second timing gate and never looking back.

It was a somewhat equal getaway for all three runners, but the X44 and Acciona Sainz teams had an early advantage, door banging as they battled for the top spot.

From there strategy came into play – Loeb and Sainz opted for a tight inside run into the second waypoint but Kristoffersson, sweeping wide on the left, cut in behind both and snatched the lead.

He was never troubled from then on, with the other two spreading behind out in the dust trail. At the mid-way point driver change Kristoffersson had a lead of 12.73 seconds over Loeb and a gap of just under half a minute to Sainz.

Molly Taylor kept building on that lead for RXR to cross the line with a 28.91 second lead over X44’s Cristina Gutiérrez. Acciona Sainz’s Laia Sanz finished 1 minute, 6.83s adrift of Taylor, missing out on a final berth as a result.

Catie Munnings (GBR)/Timmy Hansen (SWE), Andretti United Extreme E

In the second semifinal, dubbed the ‘Crazy Race’, Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen got off the line well to take a clear advantage. Behind him fellow World Rallycross racer Oliver Bennett struggled for traction off the line and was initially challenged by Jenson Button.

Bennett soon began to gap Button though, who attempted to mirror Kristofferson’s undercut going into the second timing gate, but to no avail.

The battle allowed Hansen to continue building his lead, and by the driver change midway through the race he held a 30.86 second lead over Hispano-Suiza’s Bennett. Button meanwhile was just under 50 seconds adrift of the leader.

After taking over the Andretti United entry, Catie Munnings instantly added another second to the lead, but Christine Giampaoli Zonca mounted a fightback, momentarily taking four seconds out of the gap to first.

It wasn’t to last though, with Munnings winning by 30.34 seconds from Giampaoli Zonca and Hispano Suiza. After taking over the JBXE entry, Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky finished 1 minute, 6.66 seconds adrift in third.

Unlike the headline semifinal, only the winner of the Crazy Race will move onto the final meaning Hispano-Suiza and JBXE lock in fourth and fifth positions for the event.

In the shootout race to decide positions seven through nine, there was yet more drama for Abt Cupra and Chip Ganassi Racing after their major crashes during qualifying.

Veloce Racing had already been classified ninth following its withdrawal after a roll yesterday.

Abt Cupra’s Mattias Ekström drove first and led Sara Price in the opening stint. After taking over the Cupra Claudia Hürtgen continued to lead but Ganassi’s Kyle LeDuc rapidly closed down the gap by 25s.

Obscured by the dust trails and unsettled by a bump on the course, LeDuc collided with the Abt Cupra at high speed, taking both out of the race and causing a red flag. Both drivers emerged unscathed.

Abt Cupra was given the seventh spot as a result, with Chip Ganassi Racing classified eighth overall for the event.