Rosberg X Racing won the second Island X-Prix of the week in Sardinia, avoiding the fate of a few days before where its win was lost to a penalty.
The team did come under investigation, but this time a five-second penalty if it is applied would have no impact on the result as Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky brought the team’s Odyssey 21 across the line more than 5s clear and the runner-up Abt Cupra crew of Nasser Al-Attiyah and Jutta Kleinschmidt was disqualified as Kleinschmidt did not completely do up her belts when she took over the car.
Abt had led the first lap of the final with Al-Attiyah at the wheel, the Dakar Rally winner pulling away from RXR’s Johan Kristoffersson who had taken the middle path off the line while X44 and Andretti United had followed Abt on the left and Acciona Sainz became the first crew of the weekend to take the right-hand-side path.
At the convergence point, RXR slotted into second, while Sainz came in at the back before Carlos Sainz stopped the car and retired from the race. Of the remaining four, Andretti duo Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings didn’t have the pace to contend with the top three who initially ran as a group before Al-Attiyah made a break.
Åhlin-Kottulinsky closed in on Kleinschmidt after the driver switch, the latter losing time on the belts issue before just driving away regardless, and made an ambitious on the inside at the water splash that forced Kleinschmidt out wide and is what RXR is currently under investigation for. The pass was legitimate from Åhlin-Kottulinsky’s point of view though and she “tried to drive as fast as I could” after that to seal the win.
Her team-mate praised the performance, Kristoffersson saying he “definitely” would have gone for the move and that “I think Mikaela is the star of the weekend, she has done so well, it’s unbelievable”. Victory, and the points earned by Åhlin-Kottulinsky being fastest in the super sector, extends the pair’s lead at the top of the points table.
X44 was promoted from third to second following Abt’s disqualification, and Cristina Gutiérrez commented “in some places it was scary” during the second lap with the lack of visibility running in the dust kicked up by Kleinschmidt.
Andretti got moved up to third, and because of the disqualification it means the Sainz crew will pick up the points for fourth despite not even completing a lap.
RXR’s route to the final began with the fastest combined time in Q1 by 10.741s over Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sara Price and Kyle LeDuc, whose awful XE luck returned in Q2 when LeDuc went off the course after challenging Sainz for the lead ended up instead finishing 24.81s off the victorious crew in fourth place.
The top two in that Q2 heat had particular reason to smile, as both Sainz and McLaren in second place had broken curfew and worked overnight to repair their cars in time to participate in the second Island X-Prix event after a huge collision in the first.
Heat one in Q2 was far more dramatic, with an early spin and then a technical issue for Andretti meaning it didn’t complete the race. RXR won ahead of X44, whose driver Loeb regretted his choice of starting position as he believed it influenced the heat result, and Xite Energy Racing overtook JBXE for third late in the second lap as Tamara Molinaro – with a strapped-up left shoulder after dislocating it earlier in the week – chased down and passed the inexperienced Hedda Hosås.
All of the qualifying action took place on Saturday, with the semifinals and crazy race preceding the final on Sunday.
RXR took another crushing win in semifinal one, while Ganassi had further misfortune as side-on contact with Sainz when Price went for an overtake resulted in the rear-right wheel being bent and leaving Price unable to make it to the driver switch. Sanz also took on damage but was able to hand her car over to Sainz, who finished 8.95s back from RXR.
McLaren’s Emma Gilmour and Abt’s Kleinschmidt battled hard at the start of semifinal two, which allowed Gutiérrez to break free for X44. She created a good gap, and was aided by a strong driver switch too, but the race hotted up again on lap two as Abt’s Al-Attiyah hunted down Loeb – who claimed he had some losses of power – and finished only four seconds behind. McLaren dropped 19s in third.
Andretti’s place in the final was booked via victory in the crazy race, which began with some side-by-side action with Veloce Racing’s Lance Woolridge. He had picked a different path at the start and almost collided with Andretti’s Hansen when they converged, but rode up a bank to avoid impact and somehow stayed in second place as a result.
At several waypoints after, Woolridge put serious pressure on Hansen but his strongest attempt at an overtake ended in disaster as it came over a crest and he ended up spinning into advertising boarding. What’s more, the dust he kicked up as he got the car turned around again caught out Xite Energy behind and sent the fourth-placed car into the unsighted hedges and then into retirement.
Hansen carried damage to the end to win by 10.53s ahead of brother Kevin, driving for JBXE, and Veloce’s weekend ended 31.23s behind.
Final results (2 laps)
1 Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky/Johan Kristoffersson (Rosberg X Racing) 9m12.0s
2 Cristina Gutiérrez/Sébastien Loeb (X44) +8.22s
3 Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen (Andretti United) +12.88s
Ret Laia Sanz/Carlos Sainz (Acciona Sainz)
DSQ Jutta Kleinschmidt/Nasser Al-Attiyah (Abt Cupra)