Rosberg X Racing sealed the very first Extreme E Championship despite X44 claiming victory in the Jurassic X Prix.
X44 do everything they needed to, but it wasn’t enough to overturn the championship lead as it was Nico Rosberg’s Rosberg X Racing that claim the inaugural Extreme E Championship.
— Extreme E (@ExtremeELive) December 19, 2021
Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team had pushed their main rivals right to the wire in the final round of the Championship, claiming the bonus points for topping qualifying, being the fastest through the Continental super sector and winning the final race of the season.
It was enough to draw them level on points as the RXR car finished the final race in fourth, but countback of race wins over the course of the season handed the title to RXR.
Cristina Gutiérrez had a lightening start off the line and pulled clear of the four other cars, meaning she was completely uncontested into the first narrow section of the track. It was the JBXE driver, Ahlin-Kottulinsky, with arguably the save of the weekend when she got the Odyssey 21 car up on two wheels coming out of turn four. However, she still managed to catch the car and turn it into an overtaking opportunity.
Ahlin-Kottulinsky kept the forward momentum as she then went on to take second place when she overtook the Championship leaders, RXR, on the knife edge jump.
It wasn’t plain sailing for the first-time champions though. During the race, Sophie Taylor seemed to struggle with mechanical issues they dropped back to fourth place, which was where they needed to finish, but Laia Sanz was right on the tail of Taylor and kept the pressure high during the first few laps of the race.
JBXE went on to claim third place in the Championship, with a second place finish, and managed to keep the gap to X44 to around five seconds during the race. The Acciona Sainz team came across the line last and seemingly had issues in the final driver swap of the season, which gave RXR racing a 15 second cushion meaning all Kristoffersson had to do was bring the car home in fourth place to claim the very first Extreme E Championship.
The first semi-final saw a race long battle between the three challengers, and although Sebastian Loeb was on pole, it was JBXE’s Kevin Hansen who lead into the first corner after he deployed his hyperdrive boost on the run to turn one.
Hyperdrive boost is a 400kW power boost that the drivers can use limited amounts of during the race.
For the first time in the championship, we also saw a change of position in the driver swap pitlane zone. The JBXE car came into the pits, with Loeb in the X44 machine right behind him.
Due to the layout of the pitlane in Dorset, Hansen stopped first and started the driver swap with Ahlin-Kottulinsky. But it was a slightly faster pitstop and the sharp right hander that the JBXE car had to negotiate that meant that Cristina Gutiérrez left the driver swap zone just in front. Gutiérrez went on to win for X44, with JBXE coming over the line in second place, meaning they both claimed a place in the season finale race.
Rosberg X Racing match their championship challengers in winning Semi Final 2. They’ll be looking to make it four wins from five races over the course of the season in the finale.
Kristoffersson took no chances of the line as he deployed his hyperdrive off the launch to take a commanding 2.3 second lead, leaving Carlos Sainz Sr, Acciona Sainz, and Mattias Ekstrom, Abt Cupra, to scrap it out for second place. And scrap they did as the two made contact but with both only suffering cosmetic damage.
RXR finished the second semifinal first with Laia Sanz bringing the Acciona Sainz car home second and claiming the penultimate place in the grand finale.
Following a uncharacteristic mistake from Timmy Hansen in qualifying, it was the Chip Ganassi machine that would claim the final spot in the finale. It was a pretty uneventful ‘crazy race’ with Hansen claiming an early lead and maintaining the gap at around three seconds for the majority of the race.