RXR have taken victory in the first Copper XPrix of 2023 as they move to the top of the championship standings with just one round remaining.image courtesy of ExtremeE
An exciting day of action in which the main championship protagonists finished first and second, means the title race is still all to play for.
Here’s how the day unfolded in Round 9.
Acciona Sainz’s title challenge suffered a setback in the first qualifying session of the weekend, when their car ground to a halt on the first lap of heat one.
Fellow championship protagonists RXR. who were also in heat one. couldn’t capitalise on Acciona Sainz’s misfortune, however. Whilst jostling for position with the McLaren, the RXR car picked up a rear left puncture. Once the tyre had been changed, all they had to play for was the Continental Traction Challenge.
Veloce won the first heat, taking ten classification points into the second phase of qualifying. Not far behind, JBXE picked up second, with McLaren dropping to third after a penalty for the incident with RXR.
The second heat in Qualifying One was a much more tightly contested affair. Carl Cox Motorsport took an early lead, but there wasn’t much to separate the drivers after the first lap.
But, this is Extreme E, and disaster is never far away. Whilst going down the drop, the Chip Ganassi machine dug into the banking and rolled over onto it’s roof. Fortunately, RJ Anderson was able to walk away.
The rest of the heat remained tight between the remaining drivers, but a last lap overtake saw X44 take the top spot. Andretti United were just over a second behind, with Carl Cox and ABT Cupra just 14 seconds back.
Qualifying Two Heat One was a very hectic affair, with multiple red flags during the race.
Acciona Sainz, ABT Cupra, Veloce, Andretti United, and McLaren all got away well from the start line, making turn one very congested.
With all the cars neck and neck into the first turn, there was no room for error. Unfortunately for ABT Cupra, Hosas in the McLaren did make an error, braking too late and sending the ABT car rolling onto its side. A red flag was called but ABT were out of the race.
The restart was fairly quiet, until halfway around the lap when the Veloce car suffered a mechanical failure. Catie Munnings in the Andretti United car was unable to see the slowing Veloce and ran up and over the car. Munnings was able to get out of her car, but was taken to hospital for precautionary checks.
The final restart offered a lifeline to Acciona Sainz, as just they and McLaren took the start. In the end it was a fairly comfortable victory for the Spanish team, as they secured they spot in the final after setting a fast super sector time.
The final heat was fairly calm by Extreme E’s standards. X44 got the best getaway but RXR were not far behind.
After the switch zone, Fraser McConnell of X44 went into a corner too deep, and the RXR car was able to take a lead they would not lose.
RXR won the heat, with X44 not far behind in P2. Carl Cox finished in a respectable third, with JBXE and Chip Ganassi bringing up the rear.
- X44 18 Points
- Veloce 16 Points
- RXR 14 Points
- McLaren 14 Points
- Acciona Sainz 12 Points
- Carl Cox 12 Points
- JBXE 12 Points
- Andretti United 12 Points
- ABT Cupra 6 Points
- Chip Ganassi 4 Points
X44 topped the qualifying session with 18 classification points. Championship rivals Veloce, RXR, and Acciona Sainz all also made it through, though the latter had to rely on their Continental Traction Challenge time.
Just three cars made the start of the redemption race, as ABT Cupra had too much damage to repair and Andretti United’s Munnings was still being assessed at the hospital.
The reduced grid made for a much calmer race than Extreme E is used to. Timo Scheider for Carl Cox Motorsport got the best start, and gave the team a lead they would not lose.
JBXE had initially taken second place, but suffered a mechanical issue which saw them drop to the back and ultimately grind to a halt just before the end.
Carl Cox won the redemption race, scoring 8 points in the championship. Championship contenders Chip Ganassi had a day to forget, picking up just 6 points.
The penultimate final of the season was a thrilling battle between the two main championship challengers: Acciona Sainz and RXR.
The lights went out and Acciona Sainz took an early lead, ahead of RXR and X44. Veloce didn’t get off the line and retired from the start.
The cars were all neck and neck around the first two laps, before RXR just pulled alongside the Acciona Sainz car as they entered the switch zone.
Mattias Ekstrom in the Acciona Sainz spotted a gap in the rules and cut the corner in the switch zone to put his car ahead of the RXR machine.
However, disaster struck for Acciona Sainz, as dust blew across the front of their car just as Laia Sanz was waiting to see when she could leave. She was held up for just a few seconds too long and RXR took the lead of the race.
Some excellent defensive driving from Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky kept the RXR ahead as the teams crossed the line separated by just three tenths of a second.
RXR, Acciona Sainz, and X44 completed the podium, with McLaren coming in fourth place for the round.
Round 9 Classification:
- RXR – 25 Points
- Acciona Sainz – 18 Points
- X44 – 15 Points
- McLaren 12 Points
- Veloce – 10 Points
- Carl Cox – 8 Points
- Chip Ganassi – 6 Points
- JBXE – 4 Points
- ABT Cupra – 0 Points
- Andretti United – 0 Points
- RXR – 164 Points
- Acciona Sainz – 158 Points
- Veloce – 129 Points
- Chip Ganassi – 105 Points
- X44 – 103 Points
- ABT Cupra – 75 Points
- Andretti United – 71 Points
- McLaren – 57 Points
- Carl Cox Motorsport – 48 Points
- JBXE – 46 Points
RXR take the lead of the championship by just six points heading into the final round of the weekend. Veloce, Chip Ganassi, and X44 have all fallen out of championship contention, meaning the fight for the title will feature just the top two teams. It’s sure to be a enthralling end to the season tomorrow.