WSR: Vaxiviere claims last gasp win at Motorland Aragon


France’s Mattieu Vaxiviere emerged victorious from the second race of the 2015 Formula Renault 3.5 season following a race-long battle with McLaren junior driver Nyck de Vries at Motorland Aragon in Spain on Sunday.

Vaxiviere failed to convert pole position on Saturday into a race win, crossing the line in fourth place as Britain’s Oliver Rowland won the first race of the year. He managed to qualify second on Sunday behind de Vries.

The race started under the safety car due to torrential rain, but was red flagged after five laps. Once the worst of the weather had been allowed to pass, the race resumed, with the safety car peeling in after two laps.

De Vries managed to pull out a lead over Vaxiviere, but found himself under attack after both drivers had made their mandatory pit stop. The Frenchman continued to reel the leader in, and managed to launch a last lap attack to move into the lead and cross the line for his maiden Formula Renault 3.5 victory.

“I missed my chance of winning yesterday, but I was able to score a lot of points,” Vaxiviere said. “Today, we had to wait until the conditions improved, but the race stewards made the right decision.

“I remained focused and pressured Nyck. The team did an excellent pit stop, allowing me to get closer. I managed my rain tires in such a way as to keep them cool on a drying track surface and I saw an opportunity.

“I had a go on the following lap and I am very happy to take this victory! I hope it continues like this at Spa and Monaco.”

De Vries may have come within touching distance of a victory in just his second race in the series, but he was humble in defeat.

“Qualifying went very well and I was satisfied with what we have done,” the McLaren junior said. “The pace was good and I managed to create a nice gap, but my tires suffered.

“Following the pit stop, I held off Matthieu, but he found an opening. Fair play to him.”

By finishing third, race one winner Oliver Rowland retains his lead at the top of the drivers’ championship after one round, with the next race taking place in Monaco on May 24.

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

2022 Extreme E Uruguay
Extreme E

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.