- Laia Sanz and Mattias Ekström made it to the Final, but the lack of visibility due to the mud on the track prevented them from making the most of their Odyssey 21.
A fourth-place finish in the Final sealed the participation of the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team in Scotland’s Hydro X-Prix. The event was compromised by the mud on the track and the lack of visibility. Laia Sanz and Mattias Ekström are now second in the Championship as the season approaches its halfway point.
Beyond its regular competitors, today the Spanish team faced the trickiest visibility conditions seen so far in the history of the electric Championship. The rain soaked the track and cars picked-up mud and dust as they advanced through the course, to the point that the windscreen wipers were not capable of performing their job. This led to an X-Prix that was more unpredictable than usual, unfortunately for an ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team that had the speed to fight for better results in more normal conditions. The result, a fourth place, means the team is now second in the Championship with 68 points.
The Spanish team had earned its place in the Final by taking a dominant win in the first Qualifying heat, where Mattias Ekström did yet another blistering start and Laia Sanz drove the car to the finish line without giving anybody a chance. In the second Qualifying hit, the team overcame a crash at the start that compromised the chances of the 55-car.
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team won the GridPlay popular vote and thus was able to pick its starting position for the Final, choosing the racing line that was closer to the apex of the corner. Mattias was up to second in the first meters of the race, but by the driver switch the car was down to third. Moments later, the podium faded away when a car pushed Laia Sanz, throwing her into a spin. Finally, the lack of water in the wipers, the lack of visibility and an issue in the radio communications led to Laia running out of track, sealing the fourth-place finish in the race.
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team is now second in the Extreme E Championship with 68 points to its name when there are still six rounds to go in three different locations scattered all around the world. The leader is only 11 points away. The next event is Sardinia’s Island X-Prix, which will take place on the 8th and the 9th of July.
Mattias Ekström, driver:
“Today was a very rainy and muddy day, and in the end, we could only bring home a fourth place. It is not what we wanted considering we were in pole position, but my start was not perfect and we did not have the best pace in the race either. The visibility was poor and the race was tricky. Still, we leave Scotland in second place in the Championship and this leaves all the options open going forward."
Laia Sanz, driver:
“It was quite a surreal Final, during my time at the wheel. The radio communication was not working, so I had no idea about the different gaps. I could not see anything in my rear-view mirrors nor in my windscreen, so I was racing completely blind and I had no idea of where were the different flags. It is a shame because we wanted to win this Final. The good thing is that we are very much alive in the Championship, we are second now, so we will go at it again in Sardinia."
Joan Orús, Team Principal:
“The mud was the most important factor in today’s race, as it compromised the visibility of the drivers and it affected the speed and potential of our team. We fought until the end and we finished fourth, which means that now we are in second place in the Championship. It is a bitter feeling because we are here to fight and to win. The fact that we are now in second place makes us even more eager for Sardinia, where we want to fight again for the overall victory and to try and reclaim the lead in the Championship."
“A tricky and challenging weekend. The conditions surprised everyone, especially in the Final after the rain. We had an issue with the windscreen wipers because they ran out of water and eventually the drivers could not clean their windscreen anymore. This made visibility especially tricky. Anyway, the important and positive thing about this weekend is that we are still second and that we are in the fight for the Championship. There are still many races to go and we cannot be discouraged by this. We must go at it again next time."