Chip Ganassi Racing has ended its long winless streak in Extreme E by securing victory in the first Island X Prix in Sardinia, following a post-race decision by series officials.
The team of Kyle LeDuc and Sara Price initially finished second on the road, with Rosberg X Racing’s Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky crossing the line first. However, RXR was subsequently stripped of the victory for its involvement in a collision with Acciona Sainz’s Carlos Sainz, which resulted in the latter rolling out of the race.
Sainz made the best start in the main event, but quickly dropped back into the pack where he came together with Kristoffersson. The heavy collision instantly ended Sainz’s race, while Kristoffersson was able to continue in the race lead, albeit with much of the bodywork from the front of the car missing.
Sainz was taken to a local hospital for precautionary checks but remained conscious throughout and was said to be “in good spirits”.
With the bruised RXR entry once again out in front, Chip Ganassi Racing’s Hummer EV-branded car, driven by Kyle LeDuc, began hunting down the reigning champions. Using the Hyperdrive boost towards the end of the first lap, LeDuc ended his tour just 4.49s adrift of Kristoffersson.
With Sainz’s car still stricken, a red flag was thrown at the end of the first lap, the race resuming from the start line with the swapped drivers in place, but each team’s start staggered to maintain the gaps from the first lap.
Despite the damage the RXR machine, now driven by Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, continued to lead, with Ganassi’s Sara Price hunting her down. Ahlin-Kottulinsky, however, was undeterred, bringing the car home for RXR’s second consecutive win with a 10.363s advantage over Price.
Behind them, XITE Energy Racing’s all-new driver pairing of Timo Scheider and Tamara Molinaro clinched the team’s first podium in Extreme E in what was their first appearance in a final.
JBXE’s Hedda Hosas and Kevin Hansen completed the final finishers, albeit some way off the pace, their challenge in the final being stunted by a spin for Hosas on the first lap, and a pit speeding penalty later on in the race.
Cristina Gutierrez / Sebastien Loeb of Team X44 do battle with Laia Sanz / Carlos Sainz ofAcciona | Sainz XE Team. Sam Bloxham/Motorsport Images
Ahead of the final, RXR won the opening semifinal from XITE and Andretti United, Andretti losing an almost certain transfer spot on the second lap after losing power.
The second semi also had a big-name casualty, as a problem with a safety net slowed Team X44’s driver change, dropping the Lewis Hamilton-owned team out of contention.
In the “Crazy Race” where only the winner advanced to the main, Ganassi’s typical poor luck in Extreme E was turned on its head as it went on to benefit from its rivals faltering. That race was won by Abt Cupra’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Jutta Kleinschmidt on the road, but a brace of penalties for clipping a track marker, then exiting the driver change zone too early dropped them down to third.
That gave the all-important win to Ganassi while Veloce Racing’s Lance Woolridge and Christine Giampaoli Zonca moved up to an inconsequential second place. McLaren’s Emma Gilmour and Tanner Foust were classified last after a roll for Gilmour at the start of the Crazy Race, the second such incident for the team in as many rounds.