Acciona Sainz ended Rosberg X Racing’s Extreme E winning streak in Sardinia after emerging from a chaotic final on the first day of this season’s second Island X Prix.
Mattias Ekstom grabbed an early lead for the team after sweeping round the outside going into the first corner on the opening lap, powering past the fast-starting Carl Cox Motorsport entry of Timo Scheider, and resisting a challenge up the inside from Veloce Racing’s Kevin Hansen.
It was a relatively straightforward first half of the four-lap final, with Ekstrom bringing the Acciona Sainz car 4.525s ahead of Veloce’s Hansen at the mid-race driver switch. Hansen had snatched second after a fantastic move at the start of the second lap where he took a wide, off-line approach into the first waypoint before darting up the inside at the last second to take the place.
Veloce’s charge was stunted at the switch, however, when Hansen was slow to get out of the car, then the team scrambled to find an on-the-spot solution for its broken windshield wipers — the left one stopping and the right one detaching entirely during the second lap of the race.
Veloce’s issues allowed the Carl Cox team, now with Lia Block at the wheel, to emerge from the Switch Zone ahead of Veloce’s Molly Taylor, who had Abt Cupra’s Klara Andersson — who’d taken over from Sebastien Loeb — on her tail as well.
With Acciona Sainz’s Laia Sanz holding a clear lead going into the second half of the race, the focus was on the fight for the remaining podium places. Veloce’s visibility issues slowed Taylor but Andersson wasn’t able to find a way past at first. On the final lap, the Cupra driver did get by at Waypoint 4, only to immediately spin at the next gate as a result of suspension damage sustained from contact with Taylor.
That drama ought to have locked in second for Carl Cox Motorsport, but suspension issues resulting from Block’s own contact with Taylor meant she pulled off the course at Waypoint 7 on the final lap.
Andersson therefore wrested her three-wheeled Odyssey 21 home in second, 42.766s behind Sanz, while Molly Taylor miraculously finished third despite having no visibility for much of her stint in the car.
Fourth went to Rosberg X Racing’s Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky — they finished a lap down after Kristoffersson stopped on the first lap to perform a power cycle in an attempt to quell power steering issues that ultimately proved unsuccessful.
Island X Prix II (Round 7) Final
Acciona Sainz 9m 47.173
Abt Cupra +42.766
Veloce Racing +1m 05.976
RXR +1 Lap
Carl Cox Motorsport DNF
Acciona Sainz’s win on Saturday afternoon not only put an end to a three-race Sardinia winning streak for RXR stretching back to last year (the team has won four from six round held on the Island so far), but it also capped off a dominant day for the Spanish team which won both of its qualifying heats.
Laia Sanz and Mattias Ekstrom of Acciona Sainz celebrate their Island X-Prix victory. Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images
It won the first despite heavy contact with the Carl Cox team as both fought for the lead. Its Q2 victory was much more straightforward, with a lights-to-flag win ahead of championship rivals Veloce.
The other two qualifying heats were won by Abt Cupra and RXR respectively, Abt Cupra’s coming in somewhat controversial circumstances as it overturned a big deficit when it arrived at a slow zone area as the yellow flags were rescinded, the two cars in front (of RXR and Veloce) having been slowed by them earlier on, allowing it to carry speed through and breeze past both.
The Redemption Race for the five teams that didn’t qualify for the final was won by Andretti Altawkilat’s Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings after yet more slow zone drama. The leading GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing car slowed a waypoint too soon, which enabled Andretti and JBXE (Hedda Hosas and Andreas Bakkerud) to get by.
The slow zone was in place after Tamara Molinaro, subbing for the injured Emma Gilmour at NEOM McLaren, launched into a flip moments after the race start.
Molinaro and Hosas, the only two female drivers taking the start of the redemption race, came together on the run down to the first corner, with Molinaro bouncing off to the left, landing sideways and then flipping. She was uninjured in NEOM McLaren’s second car-destroying crash in as many days.
Island X Prix II (Round 7) Redemption Race
Andretti Altawkilat 10m 35.722
GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing +11.998
NEOM McLaren DNF