- The new driver line-up of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team ran smoothly in Saudi Arabia without any mechanical issues.
Wednesday of preparation work for Mattias Ekström and Laia Sanz in Extreme E’s pre-season test in Saudi Arabia, where the driver line-up of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team got to share the racing car for the very first time.
Ekström and Sanz had 45 minutes of track-time in a two-kilometre long circuit nearby the location that will host this weekend’s Desert X-Prix, which will kickstart the 2023 Extreme E Championship with the first two rounds of the calendar.
For ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, who this year has a new driver line-up following the injury of Carlos Sainz Sr at the Dakar Rally, the main goal for today’s test was to optimize the adaptation of its drivers and gather as much data as possible to start the season with the highest ambition.
Mattias, champion both of the Rallycross World Championship and the DTM, and Laia, multiple times world champion in Trial and Enduro, took part in this test, which consisted of three 15-minute sessions split over a ten-hour period. There were no issues and the overall feeling of the team was positive.
Carlos Sainz is also in Neom to closely follow the evolution of the team and contribute with his experience to finetuning the Odyssey 21 and create the best possible strategy for the weekend. He will be with Ekström and Sanz throughout the entire Desert X-Prix.
Tomorrow, the drivers of the team will take part in the activities of Extreme E’s Legacy Programme to contribute to the preservation of the environment. They will also get to know for the very first time the circuit that will host this weekend’s Desert X-Prix. Practice is set to begin on Friday, with a double-header event coming up on Saturday and Sunday. Each day will have its own Qualifying sessions, followed by a redemption race and the final.
Laia Sanz, driver:
"Today was a really productive day here in Neom. The most important thing was getting back the feeling with the Odyssey 21 after the winter months and starting to work with Mattias in order to be aligned from the very first X-Prix. Mattias is really quick on track and very meticulous in his analysis with the engineers, so I think he is a fantastic signing. Now we have a couple of days to go through the data and participate in the Legacy activities before the real competition begins."
Mattias Ekström, driver:
"Today was my first day on track with the team and I am really happy because we did all the work that we wanted to do. My adaptation to the Odyssey 21 was pretty straightforward: I hadn’t driven this car for over a year, but from the very first kilometre everything felt really familiar. Laia is a great driver and exchanging our views after the outings on track was fantastic. Now we will keep on working to achieve great things in this weekend’s Desert X-Prix."
Carlos Sainz, driver:
"Laia and Mattias did an impeccable job. Mattias blended seamlessly in the team from the very beginning and his point of view and experience will help us a lot, while Laia is at her best level so far, with more and more kilometres on four wheels. Now we have some time to analyse everything before practice on Friday."