New driver line-up for ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team as Mattias Ekström joins to partner Laia Sanz for Extreme E Season 3

01.03.2023: SAINZ XE Team have unveiled their driver pairing for Extreme E Season 3, with Mattias Ekström teaming up with Laia Sanz for the Spanish outfit. The Swede replaces Carlos Sainz Snr., as the two-time World Rally Champion is still recovering from a cr


SAINZ XE Team have unveiled their driver pairing for Extreme E Season 3, with Mattias Ekström teaming up with Laia Sanz for the Spanish outfit.

 

The Swede replaces Carlos Sainz Snr., as the two-time World Rally Champion is still recovering from a crash suffered in this year’s Dakar Rally, in which he fractured two vertebrae. Nevertheless, Sainz Snr. will travel to NEOM, Saudi Arabia, to work and help the team throughout the Desert X Prix later this month.



ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team finished sixth in the standings in Season 1, scoring their first ever podium with third at the Arctic X Prix in Greenland. The Spanish team built upon their first season performance, and had the pace to secure third in the championship in Extreme E Season 2 - reaching four out of the five Finals and finishing on the podium twice – and will be keen to secure that long-awaited maiden victory in 2023.



Joan Orús, ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team’s Team Principal, said: “This season is very important for the entire ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team. We start the year in a tough situation with the news that Carlos will not be in the car in Saudi Arabia, but we still feel we have found the best possible driver to complete the team with Laia.



“Mattias Ekström is one of the best rallycross, track and off-road drivers in the world, and his illustrious racing record will surely help us further develop as a team. Our aim is to win and we know that we can fight for the title if we all do our work right.”



Carlos Sainz Snr., ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, said
: “Mattias is the best signing we could have hoped for, for this new season. I know him well and I trust him completely because I know what he is capable of: I believe he is one of the best and most multifaceted race drivers in the world, and therefore it is an honour that he gets to defend the colours of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team.


I have raced against him in Extreme E and know him as my teammate in Audi in the raids, so I am aware of his potential and strengths.
 




“I myself will do all I can to help the team achieve its goals. I will be attending the races and supporting them to get the best results we can. Regarding Laia, she keeps growing as a race driver and she knows the team throughout. I would also like to thank Acciona, Santander Private Banking, Asterra and all our sponsors for their trust in this sustainable, egalitarian, thrilling project again.”



Ekström joins the team after a prolific racing career in the Rallycross World Championship, which he conquered in 2016, and the DTM, which he won twice in 2004 and 2007. He is also familiar with Extreme E having raced during the maiden season in 2021, finishing on the podium at the Island X Prix for ABT CUPRA XE, and is a four-time winner of the Race of Champions, securing another victory earlier this year.
 






Mattias Ekström, ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, said
: “Carlos is one of my childhood idols and since we are teammates in Audi Dakar project, we’ve become friends, so it feels special and even emotional to join his team at Extreme E. With me stepping in for Carlos, it will give him more time to recover from the accident he suffered at Dakar. I also know Laia since my very first Extreme E race and I’ve seen her progress a lot and she has shown her speed on track.



“Even though it was a very late decision to join the team, I will do my best to bring success to ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team this season and I hope we can fight for race wins and titles. I look forward on meeting all the team members in person and working with Carlos as my team boss, as I’m sure it will be a fun and valuable experience.”



Sanz will race for ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team once again, and has established herself as one of the best female off-road and Extreme E drivers since debuting in 2021. This will be her third season with the team.
 





Prior to her switch to cars, Sanz was crowned Trial World Champion 14 times, Enduro World Champion on five occasions, and has finished the Dakar Rally thirteen times in a row between 2011 and 2023. The Spaniard marked her car debut in the 2022 Dakar Rally, and this year finished 14th in the 4x2 traction prototypes class.



The Spaniard finished ninth overall in the 2015 Dakar Rally, achieving the best result ever by a woman in the motorcycle category at the event.




Laia Sanz, ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, said
: “I am really looking forward to the start of the Extreme E season. I feel like I improved a lot last year, but I haven’t reached my maximum and I am convinced that this season I will be able to contribute even more to the team’s success.
 


"It will definitely be strange not having Carlos on my side in Saudi Arabia, but his advice will be as important as always to try and achieve the result we all want.



“I am thrilled to be working with Mattias, who doesn’t really need any introduction because he has achieved so much in his long career in motorsports.”

 

 

You can find out how ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team’s new driver line-up gets on at the season opener in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, on 11-12 March.


 
To learn more about Extreme E, visit - www.Extreme-E.com
 




Josh Bell- photos Extreme E




Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/new-driver-acciona-sainz-xe-team-ekstroem-laia-sanz---248021.html

01.03.2023 / MaP

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