Tequila Patron ESM back to IMSA for ’17; switches WEC lineup to end ’16

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Two bits of news from the Tequila Patron ESM camp, which won the opening two rounds of the IMSA WeatherTech SportsCar Championship season at Daytona and Sebring and has been on the podium multiple times in the FIA World Endurance Championship, but is yet to win there.

The team on the whole will be back in IMSA full-time next year with a Nissan power unit and two Onroak Automotive Ligier JS P217 chassis, although the stylized bodywork for the Daytona Prototype international (DPi) is yet to be finalized.

“Tequila Patrón ESM has had an incredible experience over the last 24 months going to some amazing race tracks, but we are very excited to return to the IMSA WeatherTech Championship,” said ESM owner Scott Sharp.

“The DPi program is going to be really exciting, and it will be fantastic to be able to compete not only on our home turf, but for the overall win,” added Patrón Spirits President and Tequila Patrón ESM driver Ed Brown. “It’s going to be wonderful to be associated with a world-class brand like Nissan! I think the synergies between the two companies and each of our consumers will give us great opportunities to activate our brands.”

Sharp, Brown and Johannes van Overbeek, meanwhile, have stepped out of the team’s current No. 30 Ligier JS P2 Nissan for the remaining three races of the FIA WEC season.

Instead, the Indonesian branch of KFC, JAGONYA AYAM, will take over the livery and lineup for that car, and will see Giedo van der Garde, Sean Gelael, and Antonio Giovinazzi in the No. 30 car.

“Jagonya Ayam expressed interest in getting a taste of a P2 program, and we already had the car, crew and full season entry,” Sharp said.

“We are really proud to be part of this program with a professional team such as Tequila Patrón ESM,” said JAGONYA AYAM Sporting Manager Francesco Principe. “The cars look competitive and we are confident our line-up will do their best during each session.”

The No. 31 trio of Ryan Dalziel, Pipo Derani and Chris Cumming rounds out the season in the FIA WEC in the lone remaining Patron-liveried car.

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.