• An accident after stepping on a road rut with the outer wheels prevented the team from finishing on the podium.

ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team finished fourth in the Grand Final of the Desert X Prix I, where the team followed a different strategy in its will to fight for victory. In the end, though, a crash in the last lap of the final race meant the team was not able to kickstart the 2024 Extreme E season with a podium finish.

The other teams chose to take the start with their male drivers, but ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team went with Laia Sanz and saved Fraser McConnell for the final part of the race. The Jamaican driver pushed and gained back time, cutting the gap to the lead from nine seconds to only three.

Laia was up to second in the first few meters but dropped down to fourth after the first corner. This compromised massively her visibility because she could barely see the track and the apexes of the corners given the huge amounts of sand coming from the cars ahead.

Fraser trailed the race leader by nine seconds as he got behind the steering wheel. The Jamaican showcased a great race pace, claiming back six seconds and getting himself back in the fight for the podium. Sadly, just as he was attacking for third place, his car rolled over after he stepped on a hole in the road nut with the outer wheels.

ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team made it into the Grand Final after finishing third in Qualifying 1 and taking a race win in Qualifying 2 that ultimately translated into an additional Championship point. The Spanish team is now fourth in the overall standings with 13 points as the series awaits the second and final leg of the Desert X Prix, which is scheduled for this Sunday.


Laia Sanz, driver:

"I have a bittersweet feeling after today, but we have to remain positive and keep in mind that the Championship is long. We have done a good job so far and we managed to win Qualifying 2 to reach the Grand Final, which is a testament to our speed. I did not make a great start and dust made visibility quite poor. I held on during the first lap because I was very close to the cars in front, but in the second lap I lost some ground and I could not even see the flags in the corners. I lost time, but I knew that Fraser would be able to recover quite a lot. It is a shame what happened because he was about to overtake Molly Taylor and, depending on the last corners, he could have even had a shot at the race victory because up in front two cars were battling each other. Luckily, tomorrow we have another race and we are optimistic."

Fraser McConnell, driver:

"First race with the team in the books. It did not end the way we wanted to, but everything else leading up to this was brilliant. The chemistry within the team is so good and everyone’s attitude is super positive and easy to work with and get along with. Everybody is sharing the same mindset to win. I knew it was probably the last chance I had to overtake another car because there was barely half a lap to go. I tried it, but unfortunately, it did not work out. Hopefully, the guys don’t have a lot of work to do on the car for tomorrow. I am super grateful for the opportunity and tomorrow we will go for it one more time."

Carlos Sainz:

"Overall the balance of the Desert X Prix I is not as good as we wanted it to be, but in the end, we finish the day with a fourth place and a Grand Final in which we committed to a different strategy starting with Laia and finishing with Fraser. Fraser tried to recover some ground when he got behind the wheel, but the car ended up rolling over when he was about to make an overtaking for a podium position. That left us out of the podium, but it was not a driving mistake. The most important thing is that we are fast and tomorrow we have yet another chance to show it."

Joan Orús, Team Principal:

"The result of this first race is a shame because we had enough pace to take the victory. We did the opposite strategy to our rivals and we decided that Laia would be the one to take the start, meaning we would be finishing the race with Fraser. Sadly, during an overtaking manoeuvre, Fraser went deep into a road nut and the car rolled over. These things can happen, but it was a good strategy to go for the win. Tomorrow we will try once again."