- Laia Sanz and Mattias Ekström finished second in Neom and are also second in the Championship with 21 points.
- On top of the 18 points they scored for finishing second in the Grand Final, they added two for setting the fastest time in the Traction Challenge and another one for winning Qualifying 2.
- Tomorrow Sunday is the second round of the Desert X-Prix, whose race format will be the exact same as today’s event.
Drivers: Laia Sanz & Mattias Ekström
Car: Odyssey 21 (Max 554 PS, 0-100 kph in 4,5 s, top speed 200 kph)
Location: Neom, Saudi Arabia
Date: 11 March 2023
Desert X-Prix, Round 1
Qualifying 1 P2
Qualifying 2: P1
Grand Final P2, 21 points (18 + 2 Traction Challenge + 1 Qualifying 2)
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team came in second place in the first round of the 2023 Extreme E Championship, Saudi Arabia’s Desert X-Prix, putting together its best start to the season so far. Mattias Ekström and Laia Sanz clinched the first podium of the year for the Spanish team.
Ekström and Sanz were also the quickest drivers in the Continental Traction Challenge (another achievement for the team), which therefore translated into two additional points for the Championship. They also won their race in Qualifying 2, securing another point for the standings.
This means that ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team is now in second place in the Championship with 21 points in total. 18 of those come from today’s second-place in the Grand Final, while the three remaining ones are the previously mentioned bonus points.
The Swedish driver was relentless in his pursuit of the race leader and Laia Sanz took the wheel afterward to bring the home in second place.
Laia was also important in Qualifying 2, where she was off to a blistering start that set the foundations for a win that Ekström took moments later after switching drivers. This victory also meant an additional point for the team in the Championship.
The aggregate results meant ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team advanced to the Starting Grid of the Grand Final with the highest score of the field.
Mattias Ekström took the start in the Grand Final. The Swede was great from the get-go and even managed to take the first corner in the first place, but other cars found better traction in the corner exit and he finally ran in third place.
Laia Sanz crossed the finish line in that very same position, which later translated into second when a rival car was penalized for not slowing down enough in a yellow flag.
This Sunday is the second round of the Desert X-Prix. The race format will be the same as today’s: two Qualifying races followed by a Grand Final and a Redemption Race.
Laia Sanz, driver:
I think we can be happy. Extreme E is a long championship. This year there are ten races and it is important that we don’t make any major mistakes. So far our pace has been great and this second place is a great way to get the season started. We know that we can fight for wins at this pace. Tomorrow we have another chance."
Mattias Ekström, driver:
"The first day of the Desert X-Prix is over and we are happy because we managed to finish in second place. Laia and I are both quite satisfied with this result, although there are a few issues we want to improve. The strategy that we followed around the first corner in the Grand Final didn’t really turn out well, but we gave it our best and tomorrow we have another chance. I am really happy that we won the Traction Challenge because this means two more points for the Championship."
"Overall it has been a really positive day. The second place enables us to score the first podium of the year in the maiden race of the calendar. Mattias has blended perfectly in the team and in the car, and Laia has also had a fantastic day, so my congratulations to both of them and to all the other members of the team. Tomorrow is the second race because this year we have two rounds per weekend, so we will aim for more."
Joan Orús, Team Principal:
"This second place is a great result for the entire team, but, beyond the podium, there are a few signs that make us feel optimistic. The fact that won the Traction Challenge and the race in Qualifying 2 are both symptoms that the team has started the season well and that we have the pace required to fight for bigger things. Now everything starts all over again. Tonight we will go through all the data to try and make sure that tomorrow we are even more competitive."