Nico Rosberg's team are Extreme E's first race winners

Electric off-road racing series aims to highlight climate change by racing in remote parts of the world affected by global warming

05 April 2021 - 08:25
By Reuters
The first round of the Extreme E championship was held in Saudi Arabia this past weekend.
Image: Supplied The first round of the Extreme E championship was held in Saudi Arabia this past weekend.

Nico Rosberg's team won the first race of the new electric Extreme E off-road series in Saudi Arabia on Sunday while Lewis Hamilton's X44 outfit hit problems and finished third in a cloud of dust.

Retired 2016 Formula One champion Rosberg was in Al Ula to celebrate the Desert X Prix victory with Sweden's triple rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson and Australian rally driver Molly Taylor.

Andretti United, run by Michael Andretti and McLaren F1 boss Zak Brown, were second in the three-car final with Sweden's Timmy Hansen and Britain's Catie Munnings 23.73 seconds off the pace.

Hamilton's team of France's nine-times world rally champion Sebastien Loeb and Spaniard Cristina Gutierrez had been fastest in Saturday's qualifying but suffered steering problems.

The seven times F1 world champion, who did not attend, sent a good luck message on Instagram before the race, expressing his pride in what they had done so far.

Jenson Button, the 2009 Formula One champion, finished sixth after his JBXE team failed to make the final, while triple Dakar winner Carlos Sainz was fourth.

Time trials had started on Saturday, around a sandy and rock-strewn track that also featured a plunging drop amid the dunes.

Extreme E aims to highlight climate change and promote sustainability by racing in remote parts of the world affected by global warming or suffering environmental damage.

There are five rounds, ranging from locations in the Arctic to the Amazon, and every team must field a male and female driver.

The next race is in Senegal in May.