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RXR wins Extreme E’s first semi-final at Al’Ula

Molly Taylor (AUS)/Johan Kristoffersson (SWE), Rosberg X Racing. Credit: Extreme E

On Sunday morning the semifinals of the Desert X-Prix went over. This will determine which two teams will move on to the final.

The race started with Loeb, Sainz, and Kristoffersson lining up at the stage start, with the X44 car taking the inside, the Sainz XE Team taking the middle, and the RBX the outside.

Loeb was harassed at the start, Sainz took the lead, while Kristoffersson managed to sneak past them both by taking the outside line. For the cars behind, they’re sitting completely blind in the cockpit, sand flying. They have to risk thinking that they know the track well enough to keep going.

Loeb and Sainz, who were behind, really struggled in the enormous sand waves that the cars create. If you can get a lead off the line, you have a huge advantage. But the driver swap was still on the line, which they had to do not just quickly, but perfectly – as Rosberg experienced yesterday.

The top two drivers in this semifinal move on to the final; the standings after the driver swaps were Rosberg Extreme E ahead of X44.

Crossing the finish line, it was Rosberg Extreme E taking the victory in the semifinals ahead of the X44 team by a gap of 28.91 seconds. The Acciona Sainz team had to say goodbye as they finish in third place, by a gap of 1 minute and 6.82 seconds.

After the race, Carlos Sainz said he used the overbust a bit too early and then made contact with Sébastien Loeb, later dropping back due to visibility issues with the dust. The Spaniard admitted the Switch was a deciding factor, and that driving 10-15 seconds behind the car ahead was as close as one could get in terms of visibility.

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