Sport, no matter what it is, tends to have a form book. But if it isn’t already clear, Extreme E is no ordinary sport.
So while Rosberg X Racing might be the fans’ favorite for glory once again in Senegal this weekend – having won the opening round in Saudi Arabia – the team itself is remaining grounded, knowing all too well the unpredictability of off-road racing.
“You’re not relaxed, you’re never relaxed when you’re competing,” RXR team boss Nico Rosberg told DirtFish. “Of course it helps that you now know more of what to expect, just like everybody else though, but there’s still many challenges.
“You have a very different track here, it’s much slower but still there’s some major bumps so where do you position the car mechanically so it’s quite a challenge.
“Certainly we’re one of the favorites, of course, yes, because we had such a strong performance in Al-‘Ula,” added the 2016 Formula 1 World Champion. “[But] no, it doesn’t make a difference. We’re here either way to win so [we’ll] try to fight for the win.”
Driver Molly Taylor echoed her boss’s sentiments, saying that the event needs to be treated as just as much of an unknown as the season opener.
“Everything’s so different here where we’re back at a clean slate and we just need to focus on the job here,” she said. “It’s obviously great to win in Saudi, but everyone’s saying it’s unpredictable – that’s because it is.
“We respect the competition that’s out there, and it’s not easy, so yeah, I don’t think there’s any expectation from us in that regard, we want to treat it as we did coming into Saudi – we want to do our best and see where that puts us.”
We want to win the championship, so that’s the most important, but it doesn’t say that we’re not going to tryJohan Kristoffersson
RXR stood out in Al-‘Ula, not just for its table-topping results, but for a brace of spectacular overtaking moves by Johan Kristoffersson during a weekend that otherwise featured very few on-track passes.
The slower, more technical course in Lac Rose has been designed to facilitate close racing, something that will also be helped by the natural lack of dust compared to the desert – but its narrow and bumpy nature means that overtaking might still be tough, with Taylor joking it might require “a couple of brave pills”.
“Here you have much less dust, but it’s the same in all motorsport, it needs the driver in front of you to make [a] small mistake or whatever to be able to do the pass,” Kristoffersson said of the possibility of making more bold moves. “But I think it is possible to do a pass if there is a driver making a small mistake or whatever because I reckon you can be within striking distance. But let’s see.”
This weekend will also introduce a bonus five points for the fastest team on a predetermined sector of the course. The extra reward would certainly aid RXR in its clear aim to become the first-ever Extreme E champions, but Kristoffersson is wary of placing too much emphasis on trying to score those bonus points.
“You definitely always want to be the fastest but you also have to kind of think a little bit in what position you are and look a little bit at the bigger picture and see if it’s necessary to go for that extra big push,” he said. “I reckon we’ll see some other team go for that extra big push.
“We want to win the championship, so that’s the most important, but it doesn’t say that we’re not going to try to get an extra five points because to win the championship you need the most points.
“But it’s always a thin line to walk by scoring a lot of points with the least risk possible.”