Sainz makes strides, gains, in second Red Bull run

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In July 2013, Carlos Sainz Jr. made his testing debut in Red Bull’s then all-conquering RB9 chassis at Silverstone. It was a day to learn the car and introduce his name to the Formula One world at large, and he did a good job of it, ending just a tenth off Sebastian Vettel.

Today, Sainz Jr. had his second run in the team’s 2014 chassis, the RB10. This year’s test carries a bit more significance. Sainz is fresh off winning the World Series by Renault title and earned the test as a result of that.

Crucially, of course, he remains in the frame as one of the top candidates for the vacant Toro Rosso seat alongside Max Verstappen in 2015. If chosen, it would make for an all-rookie lineup.

Sainz banked 100 laps today and ended fifth on the timesheets, top of the Renault-powered drivers. Feeling more comfortable than he did his first go-around, despite the year-plus gap between tests, Sainz had a number of positives to take away from the afternoon.

“It felt really good to be honest,” he said, via the team’s website. “Obviously I had a reference from the test at Silverstone last year in the RB9 and I could build up little by little, as it was a long day and I think I did 100 laps. From the first lap I felt comfortable and felt at home, so I was able to push.”

Red Bull’s race engineering coordinator Andy Damerum praised Sainz’s feedback.

“A very busy day in which I think we got through a total of 26 outings,” Damerum said. “Some of those were obviously conditional on the red flags we saw today, but Carlos got through 100 laps, which is great for a rookie. He tested for us at Silverstone last year and since then he’s been in our simulator.

“His feedback is excellent and I think he has improved again over the past year. He’s obviously familiar with our car in the virtual world but it’s always a very different prospect on track and today he handled that really well.”

It remains to be seen whether Sainz will get the call-up for 2015, but he didn’t do himself any harm today. Daniel Ricciardo takes over the car on Wednesday.

X44 Racing win 2022 Extreme E championship as Abt Cupra score first race victory

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E
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Abt Cupra Racing’s Nasser Al-Attiyah and Klara Andersson scored their first win in the Extreme E Energy X Prix in the 2022 finale in Uruguay as Lewis Hamilton’s X44 Vida Carbon Racing drivers Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez survived a chaotic finale to edge the 2021 champion Rosberg X Prix team of Johan Kristoffersson and Mikhaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, by two points.

“There are so many emotions,” Andersson said in Extreme E’s coverage. “I’ve been waiting for this for so long. In my second race, first full weekend to be at the top of the podium: it’s big.”

Andersson was behind the wheel at the finish.

Rosberg Racing entered the event with a 17-point advantage over X44, but the standings were close enough that four teams remained in contention in Round 5.

“It’s a crucial weekend for us,” Loeb said in Extreme E’s coverage prior to the race. “We are not in the best position to win the championship, but the only thing we can do is try to win the race and score as many points as possible.”

The top two title contenders each crashed in qualification and were relegated to the Crazy Race, Extreme E’s version of the Last Chance Qualifier (LCQ). For the moment, they had the steepest hill to climb, but then the other two championship contending teams, Chip Ganassi Racing and Acciona Sainz Racing failed to advance from their heats.

Only one team advances from the Crazy Race, so the X44 drivers were in a must-win situation to simply keep hope alive.

More: Extreme E 2023 schedule

Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Gutierrez ran wheel to wheel into the first turn at the start of the LCQ.

The Rosberg racer experienced crash damage in that turn that damaged her front steering, but managed to limp back to the pits at the end of her two-lap stint. The team attempted to fix the steering, but incurred a penalty for having too many mechanics in the pit area.

Meanwhile, Gutierrez took the early lead, but knew she would need to sit through a five-second penalty for an incident earlier in the weekend. The female half of the gender equal pair erased the penalty by entering the Switch Zone with a five-second lead before turning the car over to Loeb.

That was all the nine-time World Rally Championship titlist needed to give him the advantage needed to win the Crazy Race.

But the championship was not over yet. X44 Racing needed to finish third or better in the five-car finale to earn enough points for the title and after advancing from the LCQ, they were forced to take the worst grid position.

A chaotic start to the Finale saw Loeb run as high the lead and low as fourth after getting pushed off course during his first lap. And that is how he entered to Switch Zone.

On her first lap, Gutierrez slammed into Molly Taylor. With one lap remaining, X44 and Gutierrez were still in fourth and the title hope was quickly evaporating, but it was announced halfway through the lap that the third-running Andretti United team would suffer a penalty for a Switch Zone infraction. The seven-second deduction for Timmy Hansen braking too late in the zone made the difference in the title.

Coming off a disappointing Copper X Prix when Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour crossed under the checkers first, but were relegated to fifth by penalty, the McLaren pair scored their first podium of the season in second.