Despite finishing level on 155 points with Jurassic X Prix winners X44, RXR’s Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor took the Championship due to having more X Prix victories over the course of the campaign, with three wins from five events.
Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez finally took their first Extreme E win at their fifth attempt, as well as five extra points for being fastest through the Continental Traction Challenge at the Jurassic X Prix, but it was not enough for X44 to wrestle the Championship lead from RXR.
Jenson Button’s JBXE and Andretti United Extreme E completed the podium places in the Final by finishing second and third, respectively, while ACCIONA | Sainz finished behind the newly-crowned champions RXR in fifth.
Johan Kristoffersson, RXR said: “It’s fantastic; this has been a new racing series, new team, and new locations but we’ve worked so hard to get here, and to be champions really feels amazing. Molly [Taylor] drove excellently today, managing the challenging conditions and I knew that all that remained for me was to not make any mistakes and bring the car home safely. We’re delighted to be champions and look forward to celebrating with the team.”
Molly Taylor, RXR said: “It feels amazing to be the first-ever championship winners of Extreme E. This season has been brutal, racing in some of the most remote parts of the world in truly extreme conditions but we’ve worked together as a team and we’re delighted with this result. The nerves were definitely there today but Johan [Kristoffersson] and I kept our eyes on the final prize, and the whole team effort across many months has brought us to this point today.”
Nico Rosberg, RXR Founder and CEO, said: “We are so delighted to be crowned the inaugural Extreme E Champions and I am really proud of the entire RXR team. The team has worked so hard all season and performed consistently, racing in some of the world’s most remote locations. To be Champions is such an honour.
“A massive congratulations to our drivers, Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson, who have been excellent all season. We came into Extreme E to raise awareness of climate change, and promote sustainability, but also as a racing team, we want to win and so we will remember this feeling forever.”
Alejandro Agag, Founder and CEO of Extreme E, said: “We are really happy with the first Extreme E season. It has not been easy in the middle of a pandemic, but we have delivered five X Prix events, and the Finale in Dorset produced some spectacular racing. Since our first event in Saudi Arabia we have had a lot of eventful and incredible moments ending in a brilliant title decider today.
“I must say congratulations to RXR – they did a great job in winning the first ever Extreme E Championship. I must also say well done to X44 who were the victors at the Jurassic X Prix today and really deserved the win after being the fastest qualifiers at every X Prix this season. We are now looking forward to what we hope will be a fantastic Season 2.”
With five cars vying for position to get the best traction and grip off the line in the Jurassic X Prix Final, the start was crucial. It was the Championship contenders who got the best getaway, with X44’s Gutiérrez flying into the lead ahead of RXR’s Taylor, with JBXE’s Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Andretti United Extreme E’s Catie Munnings and ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team’s Laia Sanz fighting for position behind.
As Gutiérrez began to pull away from the chasing pack, the tension began to grow in the RXR team as Taylor fell into the clutches of those behind, losing places to Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Munnings to slip back to fourth, just ahead of Sanz in fifth place. This was dangerous territory for RXR, who needed to finish fourth or higher to claim the title.
The battle for third place in the standings has been similarly competitive – with just a point separating JBXE and Andretti United Extreme E ahead of the Jurassic X Prix. Their closely fought contest continued as Munnings closed in on Åhlin-Kottulinsky, but there was drama as they both attempted to enter the Driver Switch Zone, with contact between the pair sending Munnings into a spin. Fortunately, she was able to get going again and retain third place, such was the pace advantage the leading trio had over RXR and ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team.
The order was maintained after the driver switch, with Loeb preserving X44’s lead over JBXE’s Kevin Hansen in second and Andretti United Extreme E’s Timmy Hansen in third.
The stage was set for Kristoffersson and Carlos Sainz Snr. to fight it out for the title-deciding fourth place finish, but it was a battle which fizzled out after problems in the Driver Switch Zone meant ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team lost ground. This gave RXR breathing space in their bid to score the crucial points needed to seal the championship.
That they did, with a jubilant RXR team celebrating wildly as Kristoffersson crossed the finish line in fourth to confirm Extreme E’s maiden champions.
Sébastien Loeb, X44 said: “This has been a challenging championship for us, but this weekend was the best so far. We came first in Qualifying in every X Prix, but we kept having bad luck in the Finals so to end on equal points with RXR after the season they’ve had is incredible and shows what we can do.
“I’m confident we will do even better next year, but for now we will be celebrating with the team!”
Cristina Gutiérrez, X44 said: “I am so happy – finally we have won an X Prix! I’m very proud of Seb [Loeb] and everyone in the team. It has been a tough year, but they all worked really hard and today it paid off.
“A first place race finish and second in the championship is amazing, and of course congratulations to RXR for such a great season. I can’t wait to come back next year and see what else we can do!”
Kevin Hansen, JBXE: said: “As soon as I stepped into the team Mikaela [Åhlin-Kottulinsky] and I have done everything we can to be as fast as possible because with all the cars being the same the driving is the biggest part. To be competitive on four very different courses as part of such a young team, that joined late to the series, means that I am super proud of our performance.”
Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, JBXE said: “It is incredible that we have been on the podium in the last four rounds. I want to say thank you to the team because we have been making a step forward at each round and that has brought us here. I did teach Kevin [Hansen] to drift on ice when he was about 13 and that was key to this year!
“It is all about details when it comes to performance and since we speak the same language we can get those nailed and we work together really well.”
Timmy Hansen, Andretti United Extreme E said: “It was actually one of the more simpler weekends of the season and it was straightforward where the line would be. Of course there was the mud, but it was more about being in the right place on the track. I enjoyed that and the level of the drivers around this paddock, male and female, has been really high. We pushed each other hard. I went over the limit in Quailifying 2 yesterday, so it has been challenging but enjoyable.
“It has been very exciting and it looks like in the world of motorsport it is going more and more electric.”
Catie Munnings, Andretti United Extreme E said: “It was a crazy Final! The visibility was quite poor on the course. I got pushed a couple of times, and coming into the Switch Zone I kind of had the line and was then pushed into the ditch, which was really disappointing when we were fighting for third in the Championship.
“But it was always going to be a crazy race with the amount of water and mud here, and actually following one of those cars you realise how fast it is and how on the limit we all are.”
Rosberg X Racing (155 points – three X Prix wins)
X44 (155 points – one X Prix win)
JBXE (119 points)
Andretti United Extreme E (117 points)
ABT CUPRA XE (100 points)
ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team (100 points)
Veloce Racing (77 points)
SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing (74 points)
XITE ENERGY RACING (63 points)