The Abt Cupra machine spectacularly crashed out of the maiden occasion in Saudi Arabia after a collision with Chip Ganassi racer Kyle Leduc within the second semi-final.
Deadlines to ship the automotive aboard the St Helena ‘floating paddock’ throughout to the Lac Rose area close to Dakar meant the Odyssey 21 was solely repaired on web site on Thursday.
However Ekstrom despatched it to the highest of the timing screens with a 4m50.580s effort across the four-mile seaside course peppered with extra tight corners in comparison with the AlUla run in Saudi.
That put the 2016 World Rallycross title winner 1.1s away from Loeb, competing for the X44 squad owned by seven-time Method 1 world champion Lewis Hamilton.
Nevertheless it was the Andretti United squad that earned the bragging rights because the quickest staff, with 2019 World RX champion Timmy Hansen combining with Catie Munnings to steer.
The full time, together with a shorter 40-second obligatory driver change, added as much as 11m29.863s.
This included a sizeable save from Munnings when she clipped a ridge and flicked the rear axle of the automotive a number of ft into the air.
That narrowly beat the 11m31.579s effort of Rosberg X Racing, with Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor having received the April assembly in Saudi Arabia.
X44 completed solely an extra 0.9s in arrears, however the run included a follow begin for Loeb’s team-mate Cristina Gutierrez – the spare-time orthodontist having come to a whole cease on the seaside entrance for a follow launch.
Cristina Gutierrez, Sebastien Loeb, X44
Picture by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images
The Chip Ganassi Racing duo of Sara Worth and Leduc ran to the fourth quickest mixed time, the American outfit having suffered a torrid outing in Saudi when Worth stopped on observe in shakedown earlier than Leduc was concerned in a roll after which rear-ended the Abt Cupra machine.
Double World Rally champion Carlos Sainz took over his Acciona Sainz automotive from team-mate Laia Sanz for the fifth-best time.
The Spaniard, whose throttle caught open, additionally stopped to provide Loeb a raise again to the paddock.
Sainz was vocal within the drivers’ briefing towards the choice to scale back the pitstop time from 45s, citing his age when it got here to operating by means of the deep sand.
Kevin Hansen, in to interchange Jenson Button at JBXE Racing, mixed with Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinksy to complete sixth forward of Jamie Chadwick and Stephane Sarrazin.
The Veloce Racing outfit labored in tandem with Abt Cupra to restore its Odyssey machine after Sarrazin rolled in Saudi and the radio aerial punctured the roll cage.
Whereas Ekstrom ran to the quickest particular person time, a tepid 6m12 lap from skilled GT racer Claudia Hurtgen dropped the Abt Cupra staff right down to eighth total.
Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli Zonca, first on the observe, accomplished the order aboard the Hispano-Suiza machine.