Australian-based XE Sports Group Joins Extreme E for Season 3

XE Sports Group announced today that they will be joining the Extreme E grid for Season 3, becoming the first Asian Pacific team to compete in the series.

The Australian-based team could be racing alongside motorsport giants such as McLaren, Andretti, and recent Indy500 winners Chip Ganassi, who are all currently competing in Season 2.

XE Sports Group is a division of EVDirect.com, who distribute BYD’s electric and hybrid fleet in New Zealand and Australia.

The Group’s mission is not just about winning, however. Luke Todd, director of the XE Sports Group said that they will introduce their own legacy programme, an Asia Pacific Foundation, which hopes to reduce poverty and increase living standards. They hope to achieve this by using second life lithium battery deployment and solar power in remote areas.

In regards to how well the team will perform on track, Todd said: “Australians are renowned for overachieving in the sports arena, and we aim for nothing less in Extreme E.”

Joining XE Sports Group on their journey will be ex-professional footballer Tim Cahill. The Australian will be the group’s sporting executive, and he had this to say: “I’m really excited to be a part of this team. The combination of thrilling, competitive racing and leaving a lasting, positive impact makes the sport totally unique. We will look to bring a significant new audience to Extreme E from within the millions of football fans across the world.”

As to whether Cahill will be a better sporting executive than he was a midfielder remains to be seen. But if he is, XE Sports Group will be ones to look out for in the new season.

Extreme E: RXR Victorious in Season Opener

image courtesy of ExtremeE Carl Bingham

The reigning Extreme E champions, RXR, got their title defence off to a dream start as they crossed the line to win the Desert X Prix.

Semi Final 1:

Race day for the Desert X Prix kicked off with Semi Final 1 as X44, RXR, and Xite Energy looked to book their place in the final.

The lights went out and John Kristofferson of RXR and Cristina Gutierrez of X44 were neck and neck for first position as they approached the first flag. Unfortunately for X44, Cristina went slightly off line and lost out to both RXR and Xite Energy.

As the first lap progressed Tamara Molinaro in the Xite Energy car hounded Johan Kristofferson, but a mistake saw her lose a position to Gutierrez. They came into the switch zone RXR, X44, then Xite Energy, all seemingly close to one another.

After the changeover of drivers, the Xite Energy and X44 cars jostled hard for position as they looked to close in on Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky in the RXR machine. However, in the battle between Xite Energy and X44, Oliver Bennett knocked over a flag which would see Xite Energy handed a ten-second time penalty.

It was relatively plain-sailing for Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky out front until she made what could have been a crucial error. Capitalising on her mistake, both Loeb in the X44 and Bennett in the Xite Energy overtook her, with the latter swapping positions with the RXR car for much of the rest of the lap.

X44 crossed the line first to book their place in the final as Xite Energy just pipped the RXR car to the post. Luckily for RXR, the time penalty given to Xite Energy saw the German team promoted into second place, and also secure their place in the final.

Semi Final 1 Classification:

  1. X44 9:05.107
  2. RXR +7.660
  3. Xite Energy +17.590

Semi Final 2:

ABT Cupra were supposed to be lining up alongside Andretti United and Chip Ganassi in the second semi final, but were replaced by Acciona Sainz after the stewards deemed an incident between the two in qualifying was the fault of ABT Cupra.

It was lights out and away the teams went with Laia Sanz in the Acciona Sainz getting the best initial getaway. Kyle Leduc in the Chip Ganassi was not one to let the lead get away, however, and used his hyperdrive to gain first place.

Leduc didn’t look back after that, handing over to Sara Price in the switch zone in a very good position. Behind them, Acciona Sainz were just able to stay ahead of Andretti United as they came into the switch.

Upon leaving the switch zone, Carlos Sainz in the Acciona Sainz car and Timmy Hansen in the Andretti United car were nose to tail. Disaster struck then for Hansen, as he struck a tuft of grass whilst trying to overtake. The car rolled but thankfully Timmy Hansen got out of the car seemingly unharmed.

With two places in the final up for grabs and only two cars left in the race, Carlos Sainz and Sara Price cruised home to the finish.

Semi Final 2 Classification:

  1. Chip Ganassi 9:12.337
  2. Acciona Sainz +6.850
  3. Andretti United +1 Lap

Crazy Race:

The fifth and final place in the final was to be contested by JBXE, ABT Cupra, McLaren, and Veloce. Veloce reserve driver Hedda Hosas replaced Christine GZ, who had broken her foot in a crash on qualifying day.

Off the line JBXE got an early lead as Emma Gilmour in the McLaren produced a stunning move around the outside to go from fourth to second.

Meanwhile the bad weekend continued for Veloce as Lance Woolridge hit a bump too hard and damaged the car.

Jutta Kleinschmidt in the ABT Cupra sought to chase down Emma Gilmour and the two came into the switch zone neck and neck, just behind Kevin Hansen in the JBXE but some distance ahead of the Veloce car.

After the switch, Tanner Foust in the McLaren and Nasser Al-Attiyah in the ABT Cupra looked to close the gap to Molly Taylor in the JBXE car.

Towards the end of the race, Foust and Al-Attiyah had finally caught up to Taylor and the former used all his experience to send his car down the inside. Al-Attiyah behind soon followed.

That’s how the race would finish with McLaren crossing the line to reach an impressive final on debut. Meanwhile, JBXE were handed a seven-second time penalty for speeding in the pitlane, although this didn’t change the end result.

Crazy Race Classification:

  1. McLaren 9:14.250
  2. ABT Cupra +2.642
  3. JBXE +11.623
  4. Veloce +3:39.676

Final:

Acciona Sainz, RXR, Chip Ganassi, X44, and McLaren all lined up on the grid for the final, hoping to get their seasons off to the best possible start.

Carlos Sainz in the Acciona Sainz car got off to a great start, leading out X44 and RXR as they reached the first flag. Foust in the McLaren and Price in the Chip Ganassi were just behind.

But then tragedy struck for McLaren. Unsighted by the dust, Foust drove into the back of RXR’s Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and rolled the car. Thankfully he was able to walk away but McLaren would go no further on an impressive debut.

Nothing changed for the rest of the lap and a red flag was called just as the other four teams entered the switch zone.

Once Foust had been assessed and the stricken McLaren moved, the race restarted, with teams being staggered according to how they came in. Laia Sanz in the Acciona Sainz went first with Cristina Gutierrez in the X44 machine not far behind. A bit further back Johan Kristofferson for RXR and Kyle Leduc for Chip Ganassi were released.

In the final lap shootout the damaged RXR car looked to chase down the two leaders. Using his hyperdrive to make the move, Kristofferson overtook last year’s championship runners up X44.

An inspired move came next from Kristofferson as he used all of the width of the course to carry as much momentum as possible into the final corners, snatching the lead off of Acciona Sainz. RXR crossed the line first, swiftly followed by Acciona Sainz and X44. Chip Ganassi was a little further behind in fourth.

Final Classification:

  1. RXR 17:50.908
  2. Acciona Sainz +2.483
  3. X44 +5.807
  4. Chip Ganassi +25.202
  5. McLaren +2 Laps

RXR top the weekend classification with that win in the final, seeing them claim twenty-five crucial points in their bid to retain the title.

Elsewhere McLaren come an impressive fifth place overall, gaining them ten points on debut and X44 got twenty points (fifteen for finishing third and five for having the fastest time through the Continental Traction Challenge).

Weekend Classification:

  1. RXR
  2. Acciona Sainz
  3. X44
  4. Chip Ganassi
  5. McLaren
  6. Andretti United
  7. Xite Energy
  8. ABT Cupra
  9. JBXE
  10. Veloce

Championship Standings:

  1. RXR 25 Points
  2. X44 20 Points
  3. Acciona Sainz 18 Points
  4. Chip Ganassi 12 Points
  5. McLaren 10 Points
  6. Andretti United 8 Points
  7. Xite Energy 6 Points
  8. ABT Cupra 4 Points
  9. JBXE 2 Points
  10. Veloce 1 Point

Extreme E: X44 Continue Qualifying Dominance

New season, same X44 for Sir Lewis Hamilton’s team as they finished top qualifiers yet again in Extreme E’s season two opener in Saudi Arabia.

Qualifying 1:

Heavy rain overnight meant we would have to wait to witness Extreme E’s new qualifying format, which would have seen two five-car races. However, due to the track conditions, the organisers decided a return to the previous season’s format of individual team runs was required.

Jutta Kleinschmidt for ABT Cupra got the first competitive session of the season under way, putting in a strong lap time for her teammate and debutant Nasser Al-Attiyah to build upon.

His first lap in anger was going well too, until he missed the finish line. Rather than accepting a five-second time penalty, however, Al-Attiyah turned around and made sure he went through the finishing gate. It’s estimated this cost him thirty five seconds.

Chip Ganassi and Andretti United were the next teams to set a time. The Ganassi team initially went fastest, but were just beaten out by Andretti United. After their runs, both teams received a five second time penalty for various switch zone infringements.

Last year’s championship contenders, X44 and RXR hit the track with incredible speed and after their laps the teams went into second and first respectively.

JBXE followed RXR and they pushed hard. Perhaps too hard, as during Molly Taylor’s lap something broke on the car. She struggled to the end of the lap and finished one minute behind RXR’s benchmark time of 9:03.604.

Acciona Sainz and Xite Energy were next onto the track, with both teams completing their runs within twenty seconds of the leader.

Veloce became the penultimate team to try and set a time in Qualifying 1. Lance Woolridge was very quick around his lap and handed over to Christine GZ just marginally down on RXR’s time. GZ flew round the track but pushed just a little too hard and rolled the car. Thankfully, GZ was able to limp away from the crash but the team would not finish their run.

Newcomers McLaren finished off the qualifying session as Emma Gilmour took to the wheel. A steady run from both her and Tanner saw them finish in a respectable seventh position.

RXR were fastest in Qualifying 1, gaining ten intermediate points, with X44 just behind in second and Andretti United in third.

Qualifying 1 Classification:

  1. RXR 9:03.604    10 Points
  2. X44 +6.911    9 Points
  3. Andretti United +11.091   8 Points
  4. Chip Ganassi +12.238   7 Points
  5. Xite Energy +13.799   6 Points
  6. Acciona Sainz +17.751   5 Points
  7. McLaren +23.375   4 Points
  8. ABT Cupra +46.781   3 Points
  9. JBXE +1:00.763    2 Points
  10. Veloce +1 Lap   1 Point

Qualifying 2:

Qualifying 2 saw Extreme E revert back to the intended qualifying format this season. The teams were divided into two heats (teams in even positions after Qualifying 1 in Heat 1, odd positions in Heat 2).

In Heat 1, X44, Chip Ganassi, Acciona Sainz, ABT Cupra, and Veloce were all due to race against each other for more intermediate points. Veloce, however, were not able to take part as they were not able to repair the car following GZ’s Qualifying 1 accident.

As the lights went green X44 got a good start and took the lead. After the first few markers they lined up X44, Acciona Sainz, ABT Cupra, and Chip Ganassi.

Towards the end of the first lap, ABT Cupra’s Nasser Al-Attiyah was chasing down Acciona Sainz’s Carlos Sainz. Al-Attiyah used all his experience to throw the car up Sainz’s inside but crucially missed a waypoint marker. In trying to get back on line, he cut across Sainz and both teams suffered damage. Sainz dropped to the back and ultimately wouldn’t leave the switch zone. ABT Cupra lost power steering.

Heat 1 in Qualifying 2 ended with X44 winning the race comfortably, ahead of Chip Ganassi and ABT Cupra, and took home ten more intermediate points.

Heat 1 Classification:

  1. X44 9:00.620   10 Points
  2. Chip Ganassi +19.580   8 Points
  3. ABT Cupra +3:13.972   6 Points
  4. Acciona Sainz +1 Lap   4 Points
  5. Veloce DNS   2 Points

Heat 2 saw the remaining five teams (RXR, Andretti United, Xite Energy, McLaren, and JBXE) all take to the track as they tried to get themselves into a semi-final.

Andretti United had the best start, propelling themselves into first position after the first few flags. Behind them, McLaren, RXR, Xite Energy, and JBXE followed in that order.

Tanner Foust in the McLaren was chasing Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen for much of the first lap, but was ultimately not able to overtake him before the switch. Further behind, RXR and Xite Energy jostled for third position.

Disaster struck for McLaren in the switch zone as a technical issue meant Emma Gilmour could not get the car started quickly. By the time she got moving, the Woking based team had dropped far to the back.

With Johan Kristofferson now behind the wheel, RXR hoped to claw back some time on the cars ahead. He managed to do just, providing us with a thrilling finish to pass Katie Munnings in the Andretti United just before the line. Sadly for the German team, they received a post-race seventeen-second time penalty for speeding in the switch zone, promoting Andretti United into first place.

Heat 2 Classification:

  1. Andretti United 9:10.693   10 Points
  2. Xite Energy +13.703   8 Points
  3. JBXE +15.371   6 Points
  4. RXR +16.079   4 Points
  5. McLaren +52.673   2 Points

With the intermediate points from Qualifying 1 and 2 added together and any tying teams separated by fastest Continental Traction Challenge time, X44 came out on top, leading Andretti United and Chip Ganassi.

The results of qualifying mean X44 will race against RXR and Xite Energy for two places in the final in Semi-Final 1, while  Andretti United, Chip Ganassi, and ABT Cupra will do battle in Semi-Final 2. This leaves Acciona Sainz, JBXE, McLaren, and Veloce to fight for the fifth and final place in the final in the Crazy Race.

Overall Qualifying Classification:

  1. X44 19 Points
  2. Andretti United 18 Points
  3. Chip Ganassi 15 Points
  4. Xite Energy 14 Points
  5. RXR 14 Points
  6. ABT Cupra 9 Points
  7. Acciona Sainz 9 Points
  8. JNXE 8 Points
  9. McLaren 6 Points
  10. Veloce 3 Points

With the first qualifying day of the new season completed, attention turns to tomorrow, as we look to another exciting day of action.

Extreme E Season 2: All You Need to Know

With Extreme E’s second season kicking off in NEOM, Saudi Arabia this weekend, here’s everything you need to know about the upcoming season.

Picture courtesy of Extreme.E

A New Challenger:

Car and racing giant McLaren has entered Extreme E for the championship’s second season. The Woking based team have become just the second car manufacturer to participate in the series, after ABT Cupra joined in Season 1.

Speaking at the car launch, sporting director Mark Grain said: “This is about as different as it gets from other racing series, and it is going to be a huge learning experience in terms of the different terrains in which we race as well as the environmental challenges these parts of the world face.”

Driver Musical Chairs:

Over the off-season the teams have been busy signing up the drivers they believe can deliver them the title this coming season.

One of the most notable swaps was at reigning champions Rosberg X Racing (RXR). The German team decided they did not want to keep their winning team and asked swede Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky to race for them this time around. Molly Taylor, who was previously at RXR, has done a direct swap and joined Ahlin-Kottulinsky’s former team JBXE.

Previous Xite-Energy driver Christine GZ has replaced the out-going Jamie Chadwick at Veloce Racing, with GZ’s seat at Xite Energy being filled by new-comer Klara Andersson. Unfortunately, Andersson will have to wait for her debut after testing positive for Covid-19. Championship driver Tamara Molinaro will take her place for the Desert X-Prix this weekend.

Joining GZ at Veloce will be Lance Woolridge. The South-African was Veloce’s reserve driver for much of last season but has been promoted after the team parted ways with Stephane Sarrazin.

ABT Cupra’s Mattias Ekstrom has also left the series, with four time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah partnering Jutta Kleinschmidt instead.

However, the driver pairing that drummed up the most excitement was McLaren Extreme E’s. Towards the end of last year the Woking team announced that New Zealander Emma Gilmour would partner American Tanner Foust. Foust has won multiple rally championships and also co-hosted the American Top Gear from 2010-2016. This was a major coup for the team.

The full driver line-up is as follows:

Veloce Racing – Christine GZ and Lance Woolridge

RXR – Johan Kristofferson and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky

JBXE – Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor

Andretti United – Katie Munnings and Timmy Hansen

X44 – Christina Gutierrez and Sebastian Loeb

Acciona Sainz – Carlos Sainz and Laia Sanz

McLaren Extreme E – Emma Gilmour and Tanner Foust

Chip Ganassi – Sara Price and Kyle Leduc

ABT Cupra – Jutta Kleinschmidt and Nasser Al-Attiyah

Xite Energy – Oliver Bennett and Klara Andersson (Klara Anderson will be replaced by Tamara Molinaro for the Desert X-Prix whilst she recovers from Covid-19).

Calendar Shake-Up:

The racing calendar has been switched up a little this year with a combination of returning locations as well as some new ones.

The first race of the season stays in Saudi Arabia but has been moved from Al-Ula to NEOM. The Desert X-Prix, as it is to be called, will also take place a couple of months earlier this year than the last, meaning temperature won’t be as much of a factor.

Following the Desert X-Prix, the Island X-Prix will take place in Sardinia, Italy on the 7th-8th May. Extreme E will return to Sardinia after it filled in for the cancelled Amazon X-Prix in 2021.

The location of the third race of the season is still yet to be decided, with the two main candidates being a return trip to Senegal, or a new location in Scotland. At the time of writing it is due to take place on the 9th-10th July.

The final two races of the season will be on an entirely new continent for Extreme E. Exploring South America, the all-electric racing series will go to Antofagasta, Chile on the 10th-11th September and Punta del Este, Uruguay on the 26th-27th November.

The provisional race calendar is as follows:

19th-20th February Desert X-Prix NEOM, Saudi Arabia
7th-8th May Island X-Prix Sardinia, Italy
9th-10th July TBC Scotland/Senegal
10th-11th September Copper X-Prix Antofagasta, Chile
26th-27th November Energy X-Prix Punta del Este, Uruguay

Alternative Format:

If you’d just got used to Extreme E’s weekend format from last year, they’ve changed it again!

Qualifying has had a complete make-over for this season with the extra team on the grid causing a few headaches for the organisers.

Now, qualifying position will be determined by races, with each team being put into one of two five-car heats.  Over the course of qualifying day each heat will run twice, once in each qualifying session. The grids for Qualifying 1 will be set by a lottery draw, whereas the grids in Qualifying 2 will be based on the finishing positions from the previous heats.

Each heat offers intermediate points (points that do not count towards the championship) 5 through to 1 based on your finishing position of that heat.

After both Qualifying sessions have been completed, the points are added up and the teams will be ordered from highest to lowest. Any ties on points will be separated by time through the continental traction challenge (which has a greatly diminished role this year).

The teams placed in first, fourth and fifth will be put into semi final one, whilst teams second, third, and sixth will be placed into semi final two. The bottom four teams will compete in the Crazy Race.

Finals day remains relatively unchanged, with the top two teams from each semi final and the winner of the crazy race progressing to the final.

Here’s how championship points will be awarded on finals day:

1st 25 Points Final 1st Place
2nd 18 Points Final 2nd Place
3rd 15 Points Final 3rd Place
4th 12 Points Final 4th Place
5th 10 Points Final 5th Place
6th 8 Points Semi Final 1/2 3rd Place*
7th 6 Points Semi Final 1/2 3rd Place*
8th 4 Points Crazy Race 2nd Place
9th 2 Points Crazy Race 3rd Place
10th 1 Point Crazy Race 4th Place

*6th position will be awarded to the semi final 3rd place team with the fastest time through the continental traction challenge.

Desert X-Prix:

This weekend sees Extreme E return to Saudi Arabia for its season opener. The different sand conditions at NEOM will provide a tough challenge for the drivers as they try to negotiate the rocks, dunes, and bushes.

As always, Extreme E is committed to leaving a positive impact wherever it goes. For this race we will see a continuation of last year’s legacy programme, which was aimed at protecting the endangered turtle species.

With the Ba’a Foundation they have taken on a five-year initiative to help conserve the endangered Green Turtle and the critically endangered Hawksbill Turtle. The project hopes to: clean beaches of pollution, build fencing around the beach to protect nesting turtles, improve beach management, and import sand to raise the beach to an appropriate level for nesting. Over the years the levels have sand have decreased along the Red Sea Coast due to sea-level rise and dust storms.

As with last year you can find out how and when to watch the Desert X-Prix by heading over to Extreme E’s official website. This is sure to be a weekend you won’t want to miss!

MCL36 Launch Friday the 11th of February

Every January Formula one fans have one thing on their minds, no not I’ve got to stick to my resolutions but the thought that the new car launches are but a few weeks away, as F1 starts to awaken from it’s winter slumber.

This year more so than most, with a vast change in the regulations in an attempt to try and bring the cars closer together with aero changes that in theory should allow for close racing and hopefully overtaking.

After the launches of Aston Martin, Haas, and Red Bull, all had been pretty underwhelming with just what seemed to be new liveries on modified show cars we really didn’t expect much more from McLaren.

But this event would be slightly different with the launches of not just the MCL36 but the Arrow McLaren SP, ExtremeE MX and E sports with McLaren Shadow.

The Extreme E team and IndyCar Arrows McLaren SP are pretty much as we expected, just a livery launch, there’s a lot of Papaya with hints of the Gulf inspired colour scheme.

Now we get down to what we’ve been waiting for, both Lando Norris and Daniel Ricciardo are presented to the crowd to much plum and applause from the papaya fans, they both look well rested tanned and raring to go.

And now for MCL36 it’s definitely an improvement on last years colour scheme still lots of papaya it’s very bright, you won’t miss them on the track, they have a fantastic re imagining of the Gulf livery we last saw at Monaco last year.

The 2022 rear spoiler is very different from the 2021 cars, the wheel hubs are back and there’s now a cowling over the front wheels.

Obviously we can’t see the ground affect but we can assume it’s going to be where a lot of time will be gained or lost.

To the naked eye and for someone with very little technical or engineering knowledge the main difference between the cars so far seems to be the colour schemes.

Will McLaren make another big step forward, will they win races, or even potentially fight for the championships?

It won’t be to long before we find out with the first of two tests commencing in Barcelona  on the 23rd of February.

As they say “if it goes as fast as it looks it’s gonna be a winner”

Images courtesy of McLaren F1 team

RXR Seal Maiden Extreme E Title on Countback | Extreme E: Race Report

RXR have won the teams championship in Extreme E’s inaugural season, despite X44 winning the final race on a thrilling last day.

Crazy Race:

The first race of the weekend was the Crazy Race, where the bottom three qualifiers all competed for a place in the final. Andretti United, Chip Ganassi, and Xite Energy all hoped to improve on a poor Saturday qualifying result.

As the lights went out it was Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen who got the best getaway, leading out Xite Energy’s Oliver Bennett, and Chip Ganassi’s Kyle Leduc going into the first turn.

Whilst Hansen looked to extend his lead, Bennett and Leduc were embroiled in a close wheel to wheel battle, which ended when the latter overtook Bennett around the outside.

After the switch, Sara Price for Chip Ganassi closed up to Katie Munnings’ Andretti car and they were nose to tail for much of the lap. Ultimately, though, it wouldn’t be enough, as Andretti United booked their place in the final.

Crazy Race Classification:

  1. Andretti United
  2. Chip Ganassi
  3. Xite Energy

Semi-Final 1:

Championship protagonists X44 hoped to extend their so-far perfect weekend in the first semi-final as they faced off against JBXE and Veloce.

JBXE’s Kevin Hansen had a great start and entered the first turn in first place, just ahead of X44’s Loeb. Behind, Veloce’s debutant Lance Woolridge made a mistake and lost some ground to the two leaders.

In order to claim the title, X44 needed the five extra points for setting the fastest time in the Continental Traction Challenge. Loeb managed to do just that, putting in a blistering sector to catch up to JBXE.

By the time the cars entered the switch zone, you could have put a blanket over JBXE and X44. The latter made better use of the switch, though, and narrowly came out in the lead.

From there, Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky for JBXE pushed Christina Gutierrez for X44 right to the end. It wasn’t enough to take the victory but both teams progressed to the final.

Semi-Final 1 Classification:

  1. X44
  2. JBXE
  3. Veloce

Semi-Final 2:

Championship leaders RXR looked to reach the final for the fifth race in a row, where they would be able to place one hand on the trophy. First, though, they had to race against Acciona Sainz and ABT Cupra in the second semi-final.

Johan Kristofferson in the RXR machine got off to the perfect start, putting it into first place; whilst Carlos Sainz put his Acciona Sainz car into second with the help of hyperdrive.

Unfortunately for the German team, ABT Cupra sustained damage early on and they dropped off the back of the other two cars.

With ABT Cupra a long way off, all RXR and Acciona Sainz had to do was bring the car home. Molly Taylor and Laia Sanz did just that, securing the final two spots in the final.

Semi-Final 2 Classification:

  1. RXR
  2. Acciona Sainz
  3. ABT Cupra

Final:

This was it then, the championship had come down to this race. RXR just needed to finish fourth or above to claim the very first Extreme E title.

X44 got off to a brilliant start, with Gutierrez using her hyperdrive to great effect to take the lead. RXR were a close second, with JBXE, Andretti United, and Acciona Sainz just behind.

However, after a good start, RXR’s Molly Taylor began to drop to the back of the field, being overtaken by both JBXE and Andretti United. With X44 in the lead, losing fourth place to Acciona Sainz would mean they lost the championship.

Taylor stood strong, however, and she handed over to Johan Kristofferson just ahead of the Acciona Sainz team.

Meanwhile, Katie Munnings for Andretti United attempted an overtake on JBXE’s Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky but spun and lost some ground. Crucially, she kept ahead of Taylor.

The final lap of the season was an uncharacteristically quiet one which saw X44 win their first race of the season, having done everything possible to claim the title. But, with RXR finishing in fourth, the two teams ended level on points, with RXR winning on countback.

Final Classification:

  1. X44
  2. JBXE
  3. Andretti United
  4. RXR
  5. Acciona Sainz

X44 completed a perfect weekend, having been fastest in both qualifying sessions and both races. In the end it would not be enough but Lewis Hamilton’s team will take a lot of positives into the new season.

Overall Weekend Classification:

  1. X44 25 Points (+5 for Continental Traction Challenge)
  2. JBXE 19 Points
  3. Andretti United 18 Points
  4. RXR 15 Points
  5. Acciona Sainz 12 Points
  6. Veloce 10 Points
  7. ABT Cupra 8 Points
  8. Chip Ganassi 6 Points
  9. Xite Energy 4 Points

In the championship, RXR topped the table, ahead of X44 by virtue of having won more races. Elsewhere, JBXE beat out Andretti United to third place and Acciona Sainz drew level on points with ABT Cupra. ABT Cupra remained ahead on countback.

Championship Standings:

  1. RXR 155 Points
  2. X44 155 Points
  3. JBXE 119 Points
  4. Andretti United 117 Points 
  5. ABT Cupra 100 Points
  6. Acciona Sainz 100 Points
  7. Veloce 77 Points
  8. Chip Ganassi 73 Points
  9. Xite Energy 64 Points

It’s been an incredible first season of Extreme E, with some enthralling racing in the most remote locations, all in the name of raising awareness of Climate issues. With McLaren joining the grid next year, season two is going to be unmissable.

Featured Image courtesy of ExtremeE

X44 Complete Qualifying Cleansweep | Extreme E: Jurassic X Prix Qualifying Report

X44 topped qualifying for the fifth race weekend in a row. Lewis Hamilton’s team have completed a cleansweep of qualifying in Extreme E’s inaugural season.

Q1:

Qualifying this weekend would look a little different to previous rounds as the short circuit saw the first drivers in the cars complete two laps, rather than just the one. Race Control also ruled that every team had to field their male driver first in this session. This of course meant all of the female drivers went out first in Q2.

ABT Cupra’s Matthias Ekstrom got qualifying underway as he put in two quick laps to set the early pace. After teammate Jutta Kleinschmidt finished off the run, the ABT Cupra had set an early benchmark time of 9:24.113.

Debutant Lance Woolridge was next to take to the track, with the South African hoping to make a good impression on his Veloce team. They set a good time, just 6 seconds off ABT Cupra.

Oliver Bennett for Xite Energy followed. After a steady first lap, he knocked over a waypoint marker on his second lap and the team subsequently received a 10 second time penalty.

The Hansen brothers, Kevin with JBXE and Timmy for Andretti United, were next, where they and their respective teammates (Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Katie Munnings) set decent laps to put their teams in the mix.

Championship leaders RXR looked to strengthen their claim on the title as they took to the track. Johan Kristofferson set a solid base for teammate Molly Taylor, who flew round the track to put the team provisionally quickest.

The challengers, X44, were supposed to follow, however repairs to their car meant Acciona Sainz were next to take to the track. Both drivers pushed very hard and the Acciona Sainz team were less than a second slower than RXR.

After fixing their car, and once Chip Ganassi had had their run, X44 finally went out to complete their laps. Sebastian Loeb got the protagonists off to a flying start and as teammate Christina Gutierrez ended the run they went quickest in the session, taking maximum classification points ahead of Q2.

Qualifying 1 Classification:

  1. X44 9:19.985 9 Points
  2. RXR +1.901 8 Points
  3. Acciona Sainz +2.757 7 Points
  4. ABT Cupra +4.128 6 Points
  5. Veloce +10.395 5 Points
  6. Andretti United +12.118 4 Points
  7. Chip Ganassi +15.181 3 Points
  8. JBXE +20.682 2 Points
  9. Xite Energy +43.015 1 Point

Q2:

As with Qualifying 1, ABT Cupra got the final qualifying session of the season under way as Jutta Kleinschmidt took the wheel. After getting off to a good start, she took a wrong turn and the German team subsequently received a time penalty for missing a waypoint. Despite this, the team were able to set a relatively competitive benchmark time of 9:29.366.

Veloce and Xite Energy followed as they both looked to improve on their Q1 result. Veloce seemed to manage just that, going provisionally fastest, whereas Xite Energy were only able to slip into 3rd.

Next was the turn of JBXE’s Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, who put in two strong laps which saw her and teammate Kevin Hansen replace Veloce at the top the times.

Katie Munnings for Andretti United followed JBXE. The Brit put in two strong laps and handed over to Timmy Hansen with the team still in the mix. However, disaster struck as Hansen crashed the car into a tree. Both car and driver were okay to continue as Andretti United completed their run 19 seconds behind JBXE’s benchmark time.

The two teams left in the championship battle went next as both tried to get the edge over the other. Molly Taylor had a steady run for RXR before Johan Kristofferson put his foot to the floor to take the fastest time in the Continental Traction Challenge. Gutierrez and Loeb for X44 were quicker over the course of the run, however, and they went provisionally fastest.

Acciona Sainz and Chip Ganassi rounded out the final qualifying session of the season. Acciona Sainz had a good run, which saw them finish third in Q2. More bad luck came Chip Ganassi’s way as there was an issue with the steering during Leduc’s lap. They propped up the Q2 classification.

Qualifying 2 Classification:

  1. X44 9:14.793 9 Points 
  2. JBXE +4.112 8 Points 
  3. Acciona Sainz +7.828 7 Points 
  4. RXR +8.545 6 Points
  5. Veloce +11.951 5 Points
  6. ABT Cupra +19.573 4 Points
  7. Xite Energy +21.464 3 Points
  8. Andretti United +23.163 2 Points
  9. Chip Ganassi +36.638 1 Point

As all the classification points were added up, X44 came out on top, comfortably ahead of RXR in second. A number of teams had the same number of classification points and they were separated based on their fastest Continental Traction Challenge time.

Overall Qualifying Classification:

  1.  X44 18 Points
  2.  RXR 14 Points
  3. Acciona Sainz 14 Points
  4. ABT Cupra 10 Points
  5. JBXE 10 Points
  6. Veloce 10 Points
  7. Andretti United 6 Points
  8. Xite Energy 4 Points
  9. Chip Ganassi 4 Points

With the teams receiving championship points based on their overall qualifying classification, X44 closed the gap to RXR by a point. JBXE also leap-frogged Andretti United into 3rd place.

Championship Standings:

  1. RXR 140 Points
  2. X44 125 Points
  3. JBXE 100 Points
  4. Andretti United 99 Points 
  5. ABT Cupra 92 Points
  6. Acciona Sainz 88 Points
  7. Veloce 67 Points
  8. Chip Ganassi 67 Points
  9. Xite Energy 60 Points

Going into the semi finals tomorrow, X44 will face off against JBXE and Veloce, whilst RXR will race Acciona Sainz and ABT Cupra for a place in the final. Andretti United, Xite Energy, and Chip Ganassi will compete for the last spot in the final in the crazy race. Tomorrow is very finely poised.

Image courtesy of ExtremeE

Rosberg vs Hamilton Championship Decider: Jurassic X Prix Preview

RXR lead the Extreme E championship by just thirteen points over X44 as the all-electric off road series heads to Dorset for the Jurassic X Prix.

Extreme E goes to Dorset this weekend for the final round of the season. With the championship finely balanced, who will come out on top?

Taking place at the Ministry of Defence Base at Bovington in Dorset, U.K., the course is expected to be one of the most challenging for the drivers to date. A surface combination of clay, sand, gravel, and mud, with a high probability of rain, means grip will be in short supply this weekend.

Starting off with a wide and fast downhill section, multiple teams will be going side by side as they head towards the tricky, technical sections amongst the trees. All this leads up to the highlight of the course: the “Knife Edge” slope. At 5.4 meters high and sloped at 23 degrees, the “Knife Edge” slope is not to be messed with.

Courtesy of Extreme E

Following the Island X Prix in Sardinia, RXR extended their lead in the championship to thirteen points over their nearest rivals, X44. Not for the first time, Hamilton and Rosberg are embroiled in a championship decider. Here’s how the standings look ahead of the Jurassic X Prix:

  1. RXR: 129 points
  2. X44: 113 points
  3. Andretti United: 93 points
  4. JBXE: 92 points
  5. ABT Cupra: 83 points
  6. Acciona Sainz: 78 points
  7. Chip Ganassi: 63 points
  8. Veloce: 60 points
  9. Xite Energy: 55 points

The sporting format remains unchanged from the two previous rounds. Each team has two qualifying runs, receiving qualifying points nine to one in each session depending on their times. The team with the most qualifying points after two qualifying sessions receives twelve points in the championship. Championship points are distributed evenly down to four points for qualifying in ninth.

Qualifiers one, five, and six then race in Semi-Final One, with qualifiers two, three, and four facing off in Semi-Final Two. The fastest two teams in each semi-final will progress to the final.

The bottom three qualifiers will race against each other in the Crazy Race, where only the fastest finisher will progress.

Points are awarded twenty five to four after the final depending on the overall finishing positions of the teams. Five points are also awarded to the team with the fastest time in the “Continental Traction Challenge” over the weekend.

Jamie Chadwick returns to Veloce this weekend following her absence from the last two rounds due to her W Series commitments. She will be joined by Lance Woolridge, a new face for Extreme E.

One of the main aims of Extreme E is to leave a positive impact on the communities they visit. This weekend that means they are partnering up with the National Trust to support their campaign to reintroduce beavers to Dorset. Next year, the National Trust will reintroduce beavers to a county that hasn’t seen them for four hundred years.

With the reintroduction of beavers to Dorset, the National Trust hopes that they will restore peat, and pool habitats for the local wildlife. It is also hoped that they will improve water quality, carbon storage, and reduce the risk of floods.

With all of this, Extreme E hopes to highlight the issue of biodiversity loss. The CEO and Founder of Extreme E, Alejandro Agag said: “Our presence in Dorset demonstrates that environmental issues are close to home.”

Extreme E: RXR Have One Hand On The Title | Race Report

Image courtesy of ExtremeE

Sara Price (USA)/Kyle Leduc (USA), Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing

Rosberg X Racing have edged ever closer to the championship title following their third race win of the season at the Island X Prix.

Semi-Final 1:

It was to be a day of attrition as top qualifiers, X44, Chip Ganassi, and Andretti United all prepared to face off for two spots in the weekend’s final.

Having qualified slowest of the three teams, Andretti United had the worst line leading off from the start. As the lights went out, the American team’s Timmy Hansen looked to get the jump on the teams ahead of him. He did manage to gain a slight lead ahead of Chip Ganassi’s Sara Price, but in trying to get onto a quicker line, he cut across the front of his rival. The contact caused him to temporarily lose control of his vehicle and he punted into X44’s Christine Gutierrez. This caused something to break at the back of the Spaniard’s car and she was unable to prevent it from slamming into a rock. The X44 team were out of the race.

Following the contact with the X44 car, Hansen in the Andretti United machine also had to pull over; as the damage he sustained was too much to continue on with. Chip Ganassi appeared to have shaken off their bad luck as they sailed through to the final in first place.

Initially, Andretti United were also set to be through to the final, given that they made it round more of the lap than the X44 team. However, the stewards judged Hansen to be wholly at fault for the two retirements and the team were demoted to the back of the grid. Miraculously, X44 were through to the final, if only they could get the car fixed in time!

Semi-Final 1 Classification:

  1. Chip Ganassi
  2. X44
  3. Andretti United

Semi-Final 2:

With the craziness of the first semi-final, it would be easy to forget that we had a second coming up: and I don’t think RXR, ABT Cupra, or Acciona Sainz would forgive you if you did!

It was RXR’s Johan Kristofferson who took an early lead for the championship hopefuls. ABT Cupra also got a good start but the poor visibility caused by the dust meant that Ekstrom had to back off a little. As all the cars merged into one path, RXR lead Acciona Sainz, who led ABT Cupra.

This would not be for long however, as the course claimed another victim. At some point towards the start of the race, the steering column on the Sainz car broke, and he had to crawl around for the rest of the lap.

With one car all but officially out of the race, the two remaining teams took it slow as they tried to ensure their car remained in one piece before the final.

Semi-Final 2 Classification:

  1. RXR
  2. ABT Cupra
  3. Acciona Sainz

Crazy Race:

The final three teams to face off for the final spot in the Island XPrix final were Veloce, JBXE, and Xite Energy.

JBXE got off the line well and led into the first turn. Xite Energy were also just able to get ahead of Veloce. Towards the end of the first lap Veloce looked to put some pressure on the Xite Energy team. Ultimately the teams entered the switch zone in the order they had been for most of the lap.

Following the driver switch, Veloce’s Stephane Sarrazin hoped to apply even more pressure to the Xite Energy team. This looked to have paid off as the course claimed one more victim when Xite Energy’s steering broke. Sarrazin was through and he pushed hard to close down JBXE.

It would not be, however, as the Frenchman pushed too hard and he rolled the car; having one of the biggest crashes of the season so far. Slightly misjudging his speed as he went over a crest, the back end of the car flew into the air. The nose then dug into the ground and the car ended up doing a couple of barrel-rolls; tearing off one of the wheels and a lot of bodywork in the process. Thankfully Stephane was okay, but the crash meant JBXE eased into the fifth and final spot in the final.

Crazy Race Classification: 

  1. JBXE
  2. Veloce
  3. Xite Energy

Final:

The weekend’s action had all come down to this race and we were all set for a crucial 15 minutes. With the rain coming down hard in between sessions, the teams and drivers had new challenges in which they would need to negotiate.

As the lights went out it was Chip Ganassi’s Kyle Leduc who took a commanding lead. X44, sitting in second place off the start, looked to hunt him down. However, disaster struck as a slow puncture caused the team to retire, losing them vital points in their championship battle with RXR.

As Leduc handed over to Sara Price, it appeared as if the bad luck of the previous races was behind them. They lead the race by over 40 seconds. The fairy tale was not to be, however, as once again the steering on the car snapped. RXR capitalised on their misfortune and took the lead of the race.

So the final finished, RXR taking their third win from four races as they put one hand on the title. A little further behind, ABT Cupra finished in second despite a stall off the start line and JBXE rounded out the podium.

Weekend Classification:

  1. RXR
  2. ABT Cupra
  3. JBXE
  4. Chip Ganassi
  5. X44
  6. Andretti United
  7. Acciona Sainz
  8. Veloce
  9. Xite Energy

Another strong weekend for Nico Rosberg’s team means they now extend their lead at the top of the table. X44 were, however, able to limit the weekend’s points deficit somewhat as Loeb’s incredible qualifying run meant they took 5 points for being the fastest in the Continental Traction Zone (formerly the Super Sector). Elsewhere Chip Ganassi were able to lift themselves off the bottom of the table, despite their misfortunes.

Championship Standings:

  1. RXR 129 Points
  2. X44 113 Points
  3. Andretti United 93 Points
  4. JBXE 92 Points
  5. ABT Cupra 83 Points
  6. Acciona Sainz 78 Points
  7. Chip Ganassi 63 Points
  8. Veloce 60 Points
  9. Xite Energy 55 Points

We head off to the south coast of England next for the final round of the Extreme E season. It’s still (mathematically) all to play for as we look to crown the first ever Extreme E Champions. Make sure you join us on the 18th and 19th of December!

Extreme E: X44 Continue Saturday Streak | Qualifying Report

image courtesy of ExtremeE

Lewis Hamilton’s team, X44, qualified fastest for the fourth race in a row this weekend in Sardinia; putting in a dominant display over their championship rivals.

Qualifying 1:

Championship leaders Rosberg X Racing (RXR) kicked off the Island X Prix qualifying, with the German team coming into the weekend mathematically able to win the title. Johan Kristofferson showed some strong early pace but that was to be undone as teammate Molly Taylor had an off. The RXR car stepped out as she was going over a blind crest and it rolled as the tires dug into the dust. Fortunately for the team, the car landed upright and Molly was able to finish her lap, setting a respectable time of 11:37.557.

Chip Ganassi’s Sara Price was next to take to the track as the team hoped they had put all their bad luck behind them. It was not to be, however, as the suspension broke within the first minute. Christine GZ also suffered from mechanical problems on her lap, which meant both Chip Ganassi and Xite Energy recorded a DNF.

X44 followed Xite Energy as they looked to continue their hot run of qualifying form. Christine Gutierrez was first out and barring a minor spin, set a solid foundation for Loeb to build upon. And build upon it he did! Loeb flew round the course to comfortably set the fastest time of the session so far with a 11:05.105.

Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen had the unfortunate job of trying to follow that run and a loss of power steering certainly didn’t help the cause. He limped the car to the pits and the issue was fixed as Katie Munnings jumped in. She had a steady lap and the American outfit posted a time 1:18.79 off of X44’s benchmark.

The final four teams all had quick runs, but none were able to match the pace of the X44 team, who finished Q1 top of the pile and took maximum qualifying points from the opening session.

Qualifying 1 Classification:

  1. X44 11:05.105 (9 Points)
  2. Acciona Sainz +12.28 (8 Points)
  3. Veloce +18.07 (7 Points)
  4. ABT Cupra +19.69 (6 Points)
  5. JBXE +22.90 (5 Points)
  6. RXR +32.45 (4 Points)
  7. Andretti United +1:18.79 (3 Points)
  8. Xite Energy +1 Lap (2 Points)
  9. Chip Ganassi +2 Laps (1 Point)

Qualifying 2:

Christine GZ kicked off Qualifying 2 for Xite Energy. Fortunately for them, she and teammate Oliver Bennett were able to finish their run and set a decent time of 11:33.636. Not so fortunately, the team received a 10 second time penalty after Bennett missed a waypoint flag.

Current Qualifying leaders X44 were next onto the track and they set a blistering run to smash their Q1 time and go provisionally to the top of the standings with a time of 10:55.401. They were to be the only team to go under 11 minutes.

Andretti United’s Katie Munnings followed as the team looked to just get round the course without a repeat of the issues from Q1. They did so, just 18.72s off of X44’s time.

It was disaster for Acciona Sainz and Veloce though, with both teams suffering from mechanical faults. The Sainz team had an issue with the steering which saw them finish some two minutes off the back of the pack, whilst Stephane Sarrazin’s suspension broke completely and he was unable to complete a lap.

The remaining four teams all had fast and uneventful runs to put themselves right up the order. None, however, were able to get near X44, who had taken maximum qualifying points.

Qualifying 2 Classification:

  1. X44 10:45.401 (9 Points)
  2. Chip Ganassi +17.20 (8 Points)
  3. RXR +18.37 (7 Points)
  4. Andretti United +18.72 (6 Points)
  5. ABT Cupra +47.16 (5 Points)
  6. JBXE +48.75 (4 Points)
  7. Xite Energy +58.23 (3 Points)
  8. Acciona Sainz +2:32.54 (2 Points)
  9. Veloce +2 Laps (1 Points)

Overall Qualifying Classification:

  1. X44 18 Points
  2. RXR 11 Points
  3. ABT Cupra 11 Points
  4. Acciona Sainz 10 Points
  5. Chip Ganassi 9 Points
  6. Andretti United 9 Points
  7. JBXE 9 Points
  8. Veloce 8 Points
  9. Xite Energy 5 Points

Teams on the same number of qualifying points were separated by the fastest traction zone (formerly super sector) times. Qualifying points do not count towards the championship, the points for which were distributed 12-4 through the field.

It will be X44 racing against Chip Ganassi and Andretti United in the first semi final, as the teams battle it out for their spot in the final. RXR, ABT Cupra, and Acciona Sainz will compete in semi final 2, whilst JBXE, Veloce, and Xite Energy will face off in the crazy race.

RXR’s championship lead shrunk (albeit ever so slightly) today as X44 look to chase them down. Chip Ganassi, who sit at the bottom of the table, were also able to close in on the team above them (Xite Energy).

Championship Standings:

  1. RXR 104 Points
  2. X44 96 Points
  3. Andretti United 83 Points
  4. JBXE 74 Points
  5. Acciona Sainz 70 Points
  6. ABT Cupra 64 Points
  7. Veloce 54 Points
  8. Xite Energy 51 Points
  9. Chip Ganassi 48 Points
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