- Mattias Ekström and Laia Sanz won the second round of the Desert X-Prix, held in Saudi Arabia.
- The Spanish team is now tied at 46 points with the Championship leader.
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team wrote today the finest chapter so far of its racing history by winning the second round of the Desert X-Prix. It was the team’s first victory in Extreme E and also the first time that a Spanish-based squad got to the top of the podium of the electric off-road championship.
Mattias Ekström and Laia Sanz dominated the Grand Final from start to finish, closely watched by Carlos Sainz, who was responsible for picking up the team’s winning trophy after two seasons of constant growth for a team that today is in a position to fight for Championship glory.
The 25 points scored today, added to the 21 that were clinched yesterday, take ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team to the top of the Championship standings, tied with Veloce at 46 points.
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team reached the Grand Final of the Desert X-Prix after finishing third in both Qualifying races. This ultimately translated into 12 qualifying points, enough to make it to the starting grid of the final round.
In the Grand Final, Ekström did a blistering start that paved the way for the team’s maiden victory. The Swedish driver not only managed to take the first corner in the lead, but he also found better traction coming out of it and used the Hyperdrive at the most appropriate moment to leave no chance to the opposition.
Sanz inherited the car with a seven-second gap. The Spaniard showed her speed as she was able to keep her rivals at bay, not giving them the slightest chance for a comeback. When she crossed the finish line, the celebrations began.
The maiden win of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team is the confirmation of the growth of the Spanish squad and is also a sign that its members have the potential to fight for more victories and even the overall Extreme E Championship title.
The next round in the Extreme E calendar is the Hydro X-Prix, which is due to take place in Scotland on the 13th and 14th of May.
Laia Sanz, driver:
"I am very happy, both for myself and the team. We clinched our maiden win in Extreme E! I want to thank Mattias for giving me the car with such a good advantage over the rest of the field. I did a good stint and was able to keep the distance, so I am more than satisfied. This victory is for all the people on the team because they truly deserve it for all the work we have done to be in this position, especially for Carlos Sainz. It was an honor that he called me to ask if I wanted to race with him in Extreme E and I am trying to pay back his trust with all my motivation and my willingness to improve even further. I learned so much with him as my teammate and it is fantastic that he is with us here, helping us and giving advice. Today we can feel proud, but we must keep up the good work."
Mattias Ekström, driver:
"We had designed a strategy for the Grand Final and I executed it as well as I could. I am really happy that it turned out to be fruitful. It is always easier to race in front and have a clear view in front than being behind another car and having to deal with all the dust. I really enjoyed every corner. Laia drove very well and managed the gap perfectly. It is a good victory for the team. It is also very special for Carlos. We have been teammates at the Dakar Rally for the past two years, but ever since I joined ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team he has been really caring. He has taught me many things, as a father would. He is a great guy and it makes me really happy that we can dedicate this victory to him."
"I am really happy that the first victory of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team is finally here because we have worked a lot of time to achieve it. Laia and Mattias were spectacular and they already showed that they are one of the strongest driver pairings in the Championship. We have grown steadily and so have our results. Starting the Championship in this fashion is a good sign. We must keep up the good work and I hope the team is able to keep the same trend in the next race because our goal is to fight for the Championship. Today is also a day to be thankful to our sponsors, like Acciona, Santander Private Banking, and Asterra because without them it would be really difficult to achieve a success like this."
Joan Orús, Team Principal:
"Today we can feel really proud of what we have accomplished. Ever since we started this adventure called ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, we knew we had the potential to be among the best, and that we could fight for everything. We have learned in each and every X-Prix and we have never stopped working and believing in ourselves. Today we see the result of all this work in the form of a first-place finish at Saudi Arabia’s Desert X-Prix. We don’t have enough with this victory, because we aim for more. This is the confirmation that we are on the right path and that we are title contenders. Congratulations to Laia and Mattias for their great job today, and to all the team members for their daily work to ensure that the car is competitive. Thank you also to all our sponsors, because without them it would be really difficult to be here. And also congratulations to Carlos, for being the alma mater of this team and for all the effort he has put in since its foundation."