“As the reigning champion, you always have a little bit of a target on your back,” five-time WRX king Kristoffersson told Motor Sport.
“We’ve definitely seen that anything can happen in Extreme E,” adds Åhlin-Kottulinsky. “It was really unfortunate what happened in Chile.
“We do have some points ahead of other teams, but it’s a wide-open championship. I think it’s gonna be very close in qualifying, so it will be an exciting weekend.”
Kristoffersson and Loeb were fierce rivals in last year’s championship, and it’s been much the same in 2022.
The X44 duo are 17 points behind. Though the ever-calculating realist Loeb admitted, “our chances are low, we need to get the maximum” a scoring system similar to F1 plus five more points available for setting the fastest time in the ‘Super Sector’ part of the course means a bad day for RXR could vault X44 or even Acciona Sainz into top spot.
From the dust-laden disaster of last year’s opener in Saudi Arabia to cars which sometimes break down with the slightest touch, the racing in Extreme E has come in for criticism – but improved reliability with necessary track tweaks have remedied many of the issues.
Potentially inclement weather also threatens to turn the circuit into an exotic Lydden Hill, meaning this event is set to be one of Extreme E’s most challenging and exciting.