Extreme E X44 Vida Carbon Racing set for another title showdown

Cristina Gutierrez (ESP) / Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Team X44 celebrate win

X44 Vida Carbon Racing’s first victory of the season at the Antofagasta Minerals Copper X Prix back in September not only propelled them up the Extreme E leaderboard, but right back into championship contention ahead of the Season 2 finale next month in Uruguay.

In a Final which saw multiple penalties accrued, X44 Vida Carbon Racing duo Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez kept their noses out of trouble to claim the top step of the podium in Chile.

With championship leaders Rosberg X Racing (RXR) unable to take to the course due to a technical issue, it gifted the chasing pack with an opportunity to claw back a huge haul of points and ensure the title fight rolled onto the finale in Punta del Este.

With victory in the Atacama Desert, Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing outfit are right back in the championship picture – just 17 points behind RXR with one X Prix to go.

Cristina Gutierrez (ESP) / Sebastien Loeb (FRA), Team X44, leads Klara Andersson (SWE) / Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Abt Cupra XE, followed by Laia Sanz (ESP) / Carlos Sainz (ESP), Acciona | Sainz XE Team

Sébastien Loeb, X44, said: “The fastest lap time of all the day was Cristina’s – she did an amazing job!

“For me, I was quite behind in the first straight, but I managed to go through in the first or second corner and exited the second corner leading the race. From that point I tried to push to build a gap but it was difficult as McLaren was really fast and pushing behind, so we ended up side by side in the pits.

“Cristina did a great job after that, and she overtook immediately after the exit of the pits. We had the information that it was a penalty for McLaren, so Cristina kept her cool. It was not the ideal way to finish a race, but you know that is motorsport. It’s a part of the game and thankfully we scored the points.”

X44 Vida Carbon Racing had demonstrated their speed all weekend and it all came together for the team in the Final, where they duelled with NEOM McLaren Extreme E in an epic fight for the win, with the two teams swapping positions throughout.

Although NEOM McLaren Extreme E took the honours on track, they were to be denied a maiden win in the series due to penalties handed to drivers Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour for infringements earlier in the race.

Emma Gilmour (NZL) / Tanner Foust (USA), NEOM McLaren Extreme E

This ensured X44 Vida Carbon Racing took the win as Extreme E debuted in South America and climbed to second in the championship as RXR’s nearest challengers.

The team have been here before, entering the finale as underdogs in the title battle in Extreme E Season 1 at the Jurassic X Prix in the UK. Despite winning the event and drawing level with RXR on points, Loeb and Gutiérrez were denied championship glory due to having fewer X Prix victories over the course of the campaign, with one win against RXR’s three.

Tamara Molinaro (ITA) / Timo Scheider (DEU), Xite Energy Racing Christine ‘GZ’ Giampaoli Zonca (ESP) / Lance Woolridge (ZAF), Veloce Racing

X44 Vida Carbon Racing will be looking to avoid that scenario at the Energy X Prix to take their first Extreme E championship.

Loeb added: “It was important to for us to win again. We only won only one race last year so to be in with a chance of winning the championship it was important to do well here.

“We did the best we could.”

Find out if X44 Vida Carbon Racing claim a maiden championship triumph at the Season 2 finale, the Energy X Prix in Punta del Este, Uruguay, on 26-27 November

Laia Sanz (ESP) / Carlos Sainz (ESP), Acciona | Sainz XE Team, leads Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (SWE) / Johan Kristoffersson (SWE), Rosberg X Racing