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

Extreme E: Island X Prix Preview

image courtesy of ExtremeE

Extreme E returns this weekend with its penultimate round of the inaugural season. The all-electric off-road series heads to Sardinia for the Island X Prix.

Taking place at Capo Teulada in Sulcis-Igelsiente, Sardinia, the track is set to provide a unique set of challenges for the teams and drivers. Italy has just come off the back of a long, hot summer, meaning the ground will be much harder than the soft sands they’ve previously raced on. The course will also include a number of interesting features including fast, downhill sections; water splashes; and natural obstacles such as trees and bushes.

For the first time this season, the sporting format remains unchanged! Qualifying points will be awarded (9-1) for both sessions and the combined total sets the grid. The first, fifth, and sixth fastest qualifiers will face off in the first semi-final, whilst the second, third, and fourth, fastest will race in the second semi-final. Finishing in the top two of either of these races will see you joined by the winner of the crazy race (qualifiers seven, eight, and nine) in the final.

Rosberg X Racing go into the penultimate round leading the championship on 93 points and able to seal the very first championship title. However, X44 (84 points) and Andretti United (76 points), along with the other six teams, will be looking to ensure that the title battle goes to the final race in December.

But Extreme E is about more than just racing. This weekend the series looks to highlight the issues surrounding green carbon (carbon stored on land) and blue carbon (carbon stored at sea). Speaking ahead of the weekend, Extreme E CEO and founder Alejandro Agag said: “The island has been suffering at the hands of the climate crisis, and I’m really pleased our legacy programmes here will be two-fold, focussing both on the land, and the ocean, through reforestation in areas affected by wildfires, and blue carbon through seagrass restoration and conservation.”

Extreme E will work alongside the Mediterranean Sea and Coast Foundation (MEDSEA) on two projects. The first one will look to reforest some of the 20,000 hectares that have been damaged by vicious wildfires. In July 2021, there were 13,000 more wildfires in Italy than had ever been recorded before, killing animals (around 13 million bees among them) and doing significant damage to local economies that rely on agriculture. The second project will focus on the restoration and conservation of seagrass.

This second project is particularly exciting as, not only is seagrass up to 35 times faster at capturing carbon than tropical rainforests (according to WWF), the Smithsonian Institute believes that just one hectare can produce around 100,000 litres of oxygen a day, meaning it’s great for the overall ecosystem. Safe to say seagrass is a really useful tool in combatting climate change.

We’re all set for an exciting and informative weekend as Extreme E heads to Sardinia for the penultimate round of the season. You won’t want to miss it!

Extreme E: Qualifying Report

image courtesy of ExtremeE

X44 topped an incredible day’s qualifying yet again as the Arctic XPrix weekend gets into full swing.

It was the new girl, Emma Gilmour, who kicked off qualifying in Q1 for the Veloce team. Coming in for the occupied Jamie Chadwick, Emma set a strong pace for teammate Stephane Sarrazin to build upon. Stephane had an uneventful run and, after a 10 second penalty was awarded for Emma knocking over a flag, Veloce Racing set a benchmark time of 14:19.436.

JBXE’s Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky was next out on track and was going strong until the suspension broke as she went over the rocks. Their Q1 session ended without Kevin Hansen getting in the car.

Xite Energy Racing and ABT Cupra followed as both teams had incident free runs to go 3rd and 1st respectively, with ABT Cupra posting a superb time of 13:48.947, some 30.48 seconds quicker than Veloce’s initial time.

With ABT Cupra the new benchmark it was the turn of championship leaders Rosberg X Racing to take to the track. Johan Kristoffersson was the first of their two drivers to tackle the track and was several seconds up as he got to the halfway point of the lap. At that point disaster struck. As Johan went over a bump, the motor suddenly cut out. It took a few crucial seconds to reboot the car, and, as the car cut out twice more, they were left over a minute down when Molly Taylor took over. Yet more bad news for the RXR team as, just a short way into the lap, Molly rolled the car, sustaining huge bodywork damage in the process. Somehow, she was able to continue and brought the car home 1:40.69 seconds down on ABT Cupra’s time.

Sara Price got Chip Ganassi’s qualifying off to a flyer, handling the track superbly to give the team a lead coming in to the changeover. Last event’s super sector dominator, Kyle Leduc, came into the car and stormed the track to give the team a lead in this weekend’s super sector and provisionally fastest qualifier. However, at some point in the lap, Leduc hit a flagpole and was given a 10 second time penalty. This put them just behind ABT Cupra in the standings.

X44 were fastest qualifiers in both the previous rounds coming in to this weekend and they made a strong case to do so again. Both drivers had clean yet fast runs and they went quickest by about 3 seconds, with a time of 13:45.235.

Andretti United and Acciona Sainz finished off the first qualifying session in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland as both teams looked to set themselves up nicely for the races tomorrow. Acciona Sainz had a careful run and went 6th quickest, some 55.64 seconds off the pace. Unfortunately for Andretti United, the car shut off as Timmy Hansen came into the braking zone for the change over, losing him a minute of time. Catie Munnings was only able to claw back a bit of the deficit as the American outfit finished Q1 in 7th position.

Classification standings and points following Q1:

  1. X44 13:45.235 9 points
  2. ABT Cupra +3.71 8 points
  3. Chip Ganassi +6.39 7 points
  4. Veloce +34.20 6 points
  5. Xite Energy +51.74 5 points
  6. Acciona Sainz +55.64 4 points
  7. Andretti United +1:29.95 3 points
  8. RXR +1:44.40 2 points
  9. JBXE DNF 1 point

Stephane Sarrazin kicked off Q2 for Veloce but problems started almost immediately for the Frenchman. By the time he had reached the first turn, the power steering had broken. He tried to reset the system but was unable to fix it and the team were only able to set a benchmark time of 16:51.810

Kevin Hansen then did his first and only lap of the whole of qualifying for the JBXE team. He was initially very quick but more issues struck as the car shut down coming in to the braking zone for the switch over, just as it did for his brother Timmy. Once they’d got the car going again, Mikaela jumped in and had a solid lap that saw the team go fastest so far with a 14:42.102.

Problems seemed to be the theme of the day as the next three teams all failed to complete their Q2 runs. Xite Energy’s Oliver Bennet suffered techincal issues, meaning he was unable to complete a lap. ABT Cupra’s Ekstrom made it a little further but came in to the switch zone with both rear tires punctured. The team were unable to change them and Jutta Kleinschmidt did not finish the run. Chip Ganassi’s Kyle Leduc didn’t even make the halfway stage as the rear left suspension broke going over a jump.

Next it was the turn of the Q1 quickest, X44. Loeb set the pace early, handing over to teammate Gutierrez with a 10 second advantage over JBXE. Christina had a steady run and brought the car home to provisionally top the session with a time of 14:37.598.

The rest of the qualifying session was uneventful as Andretti United, Acciona Sainz, and RXR all had solid runs to round off qualifying 3rd, 5th and 1st respectively.

Classification standings and points for Q2:

  1. RXR 14:26.647 9 points
  2. X44 +10.951 8 points
  3. Andretti United +14.917 7 points
  4. JBXE +15.455 6 points
  5. Acciona Sainz +30.377 5 points
  6. Veloce +1:56.163 4 points
  7. ABT Cupra DNF 3 points
  8. Xite Energy DNF 2 points
  9. Chip Ganassi DNF 1 point

For the final qualifying classification the points from both qualifying sessions were added up, with ties  being settled by who had the fastest super sector times. X44 topped the classification, going on to compete against Veloce and Acciona Sainz  in Semi Final 1. ABT Cupra, RXR, and Andretti United will compete in Semi Final 2. The first 2 finishers in each semi final will progress to the final. The last spot in the final will be contested between Chip Ganassi, JBXE, and Xite Energy.

Final Qualifying Classification:

  1. X44 17 points
  2. ABT Cupra 11 points
  3. RXR 11 points
  4. Andretti United 10 points
  5. Veloce 10 points
  6. Acciona Sainz 9 points
  7. Chip Ganassi 8 points
  8. JBXE 7 points
  9. Xite Energy 7 points

RXR’s lead at the top of the championship has weakened slightly following qualifying as X44 close to just 12 points away. Points that count in the championship are awarded by the position in qualifying, with the fastest, X44, receiving 12 points, and the slowest, Xite Energy, receiving just 4.

Here’s how the championship looks heading in to the races tomorrow:

  1. RXR 81 points
  2. X44 69 points
  3. JBXE 49 points
  4. Andretti United 46 points
  5. ABT Cupra 46 points
  6. Acciona Sainz 43 points
  7. Xite Energy 41 points
  8. Veloce 39 points
  9. Chip Ganassi 36 points

With qualifying completed, we’re finely poised for an exciting day of racing tomorrow!

Formula E Berlin Eprix Weekend Preview: Championship Wide Open

image courtesy of Formula E

The sun is beginning to set on another enthralling season of Formula E as the championship heads to Berlin with 18 drivers still in championship contention.

Formula E returns to the Berlin Tempelhof Airport for its season finale this weekend as both teams and constructors titles are still wide open. It will be the 6th time the all electric racing series has visited the airport, with the circuit making its debut in 2015, albeit with a different layout. With just 10 turns and only 2.4km long, the current layout was first used in 2017 and has since become a staple of the Formula E calendar.

This year, however, there is a slight change to the weekend. Following last year’s successful running of 3 different layouts, the second race will be run in reverse, with work needing to be done overnight to ensure that the barriers are all correctly positioned for the new design. The reverse loop was trialed in 2020 as part of the series’ unprecedented 6 races in 9 days season finale.

A staggering 18 drivers and 10 teams come in to the weekend able to win the championships, as Mercedes EQ driver Nyck De Vries edges out Envision Virgin’s Robin Frijns by just 6 points. A whopping 29 points is available for each of the two races so it really is all to play for.

In the teams championship, Envision Virgin lead Mercedes EQ by just 7 points. Jaguar are a mere 2 points further back.

Audi in particular will look to end the season strong as they say goodbye to the series. Created by Hans Jurgen Abt, the German team were among the first to enter the series back in Season 1. Despite some name changes along the way they have become one of the most successful and iconic teams the sport has ever had, finally winning the constructors championship in Season 4 (the 2017/18 season) with their drivers Lucas Di Grassi and Daniel Abt.

With the departure of Audi, we may also see the departure of their star driver Lucas Di Grassi. Di Grassi has driven every race for the German team since Formula E’s inception, and he has become one of the sports best ever drivers. From the very first race Di Grassi had etched his name into the history books, capitalizing on a collision between Nico Prost and Nick Hiedfeld to win the inaugural race. He then followed this win up a few years later with a Season 3 title win. Lucas himself is confident of remaining in the series next year, with rumors circling that he may take Norman Nato’s Venturi seat. However, if Formula E has taught us anything, it’s that this series is never predictable, so a Di Grassi exit cannot be ruled out.

Prior to this weekend it was also announced that several drivers will remain with their teams for next season, whilst BMW will also (sort of) leave the sport. Both Porsche drivers, Pascal Wehrlein and Andre Lotterer will continue with the German outfit, and Robin Frijns will still race for Envision Virgin. BMWi Andretti’s Jake Dennis will also remain at the team as it changes its name to Andretti Autosport. BMW will continue to supply the powertrains however.

It’s set to be a weekend of both firsts and lasts in Berlin and with both championships still wide open, you’d be a fool to miss it.

RXR Come Out On Top In Red Flagged Final

2016 Formula One World Champion Nico Rosberg’s team have sealed a second event win in as many races to extend their lead at the top of the Extreme E Constructors Championship.

Semi Final 1:

Sunday’s action kicked off with the first of the two semi finals. With the top two finishers out of X44, RXR, and Abt Cupra progressing to the final, it was sure to be an entertaining watch.

RXR lined up on the inside, with X44 alongside. Abt Cupra took to the outside grid slot. As the lights went green, there was a lot of initial wheel-spin. Ekstrom in the Abt Cupra was the quickest off the line though, and took an early lead into the first breaking zone. Just behind him X44’s Loeb and RXR’s Kristoffersson were battling it out for second place. Loeb narrowed ahead but Kristoffersson attempted a huge switchback move and took the position. All three cars ran nose to tail all the way through the lap but nobody was able to get by. As they came into the switch zone, Abt Cupra lead RXR, who lead X44.

However, more issues for Jutta Kleinschmidt in the switch-over saw Abt fall to the back of the pack and RXR take the lead. Gutierrez pushed Taylor the whole way but just could not find a way through, and, despite Jutta’s best efforts, she was not able to reclaim a position. RXR crossed the line just two seconds ahead of X44, who were themselves just one second ahead of Abt Cupra. Some incredible misfortune meant Abt Cupra finished the weekend in 5th position, as RXR and X44 progressed to the final.

Molly Taylor (AUS)/Johan Kristoffersson (SWE), Rosberg X Racing | Credit: Extreme E

Semi Final 2:

The second of the two semi finals was just as exciting as the first, arguably more so as Veloce, JBXE, and Xite Energy battled it out for the remaining two places in the final.

This time round, Veloce started on the inside with Jamie Chawick taking their start. JBXE’s Kevin Hansen, and Xite Energy’s Oliver Bennett lined up alongside her. When the lights went out it was Hansen who took the lead, using his hyper drive to extend the gap to the cars behind. As all the cars reached the first turn, JBXE lead with Veloce some way back in second. From there, Hansen continued to extend his lead as Chadwick and Bennett fought over second place the entire lap. For the most part Chadwick was able to keep Bennett behind, but an issue with the pit limiter meant Xite Energy took second in the final few corners before the switch. As all the cars came into the switch zone, JBXE held a significant lead with Xite Energy just edging out Veloce.

Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky took over for JBXE and continued to extend the gap to finish a whopping thirty seconds ahead of her closest rival. Behind her, however, Christine GZ and Stephane Sarrazin continued an enthralling battle. They followed closely the entire lap but Sarrazin spotted a gap and went for it, causing a tight squeeze through a narrow gate. He pushed his way through and, despite a late wobble with the pit limiter, managed to take the final spot in the final. Xite Energy’s weekend ended there, with them finishing 6th overall.

Shoot-out:

The race for positions seven to nine was hotly contested between the teams who had issues in Saturday qualifying.

Andretti United lined up on the inside this time with Acciona Sainz sandwiching the two American outfits. As the lights went out, Timmy Hansen for Andretti United took an early lead, but the experienced Carlos Sainz dived down the inside into the first braking zone and took the position. From there he built out a bit of a gap as Hansen and Price went nose to tail. Several times it looked like the Chip Ganassi car might get past Hansen but she was unable to and the teams entered the switch zone with Sainz leading Andretti, who lead Chip Ganassi.

But then came the Kyle Leduc show as he battled to make up the lost positions. He showed much of his qualifying pace and quickly closed in on the two leaders. Waiting for the bumpy section he had been so fast in all weekend, Leduc followed close behind Munnings and then put his foot to the floor. He screamed past Munnings before taking Sanz for a lead he would not lose. Munnings too closed in on Sanz but was ultimately unable to pass her. Chip Ganassi crossed the line first, followed by Acciona Sainz and Andretti United respectively.

Sara Price (USA)/Kyle Leduc (USA), Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing | Credit: Extreme E

Final:

The last race of the weekend welcomed two new teams to the final. JBXE and Veloce were taking part in their first final, with RXR and X44 both returning following their success at the Desert X Prix.

RXR started on the inside with X44 alongside. JBXE took the outside grid slot with Veloce taking the space next to them. As the lights went out Veloce’s Sarrazin got squeezed by X44 and JBXE and the Frenchman was forced to lift to avoid a collision.

This wasn’t the only close call of the opening lap though, as X44’s Gutierrez made contact with RXR’s Taylor. It appeared that Rosberg and Hamilton were wanting to renew their old rivalry. It would be short lived, however, as X44 were forced to retire due to damage from the collision. JBXE also stopped as the suspension broke going over a bump on the beach. As the remaining two teams reached the switch zone, race director Scott Elkins brought out the red flag.

Drivers swapped and cars repositioned on the starting grid, the final lap was to be a straight shoot-out between RXR and Veloce. The lights went out and Kristofferson immediately dominated bringing the RXR car home winners of the Ocean X Prix. Chawick suffered no issues and finished the race in second place. JBXE rounded out the podium despite not finishing the race, as Mikaela got round slightly more of the lap than X44.

Another strong weekend for Rosberg X Racing saw them top the Ocean X Prix, while Andretti’s qualifying problems saw them languish at the foot of the table. The final weekend standings:

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

RXR’s win saw them extend their lead at the top of the championship to 14 points over X44. Meanwhile a crucial 5 points were awarded to Chip Ganassi, as Kyle Leduc set the fastest time of the weekend through the super sector. The current championship standings:

  1. RXR 71 Points
  2. X44 57 Points  
  3. JBXE 44 Points 
  4. Andretti 37 Points 
  5. Xite 37 Points
  6. Sainz 36 Points 
  7. Abt Cupra 35 Points 
  8. Veloce 31 Points 
  9. Chip Ganassi 30 Points

An incredible weekend of racing saw the middle of the championship fight become closer than ever, whilst bringing issues relating to ocean health to the fore. All eyes now turn to August as Extreme E continues on the glaciers of Greenland. You’d be crazy to miss it.

X44 Top Thrilling Qualifying

image courtesy of ExtremeE -Andrew Ferraro

Reigning Formula One World Champion, Lewis Hamilton’s team, X44 ended an enthralling Qualifying Saturday on top of the time sheets, showing strong pace going into tomorrow’s semi final.

Qualifying 1:

Following little running in the first round, Veloce’s Jamie Chadwick started off qualifying for the second round of the inaugural season of Extreme E. After steady laps from her and her teammate Stephane Sarrazin, the team set a benchmark time of 11:37.599.

Image courtesy of ExtremeE – Sam Bloxham

Acciona Sainz got off to a strong start in their run, but the car unfortunately ground to a halt part way round Laia Sanz’s lap and they were unable to finish. Andretti United’s car also came to a stop but, after a lengthy delay, they were able to get moving again, finishing with a time of 14:39.659.

Image courtesy of ExtremeESam Bloxham

Next was the turn of championship leaders and Desert X Prix race winners Rosberg X Racing. Some of the pace from the last round appeared to be missing though as, despite being on provisional pole, they set a beatable time of 11:02.310.

Abt Cupra followed RXR and their drivers put in a strong performance. Jutta Kleinschmidt, who was standing in for the ill Claudia Hurtgen, was particularly impressive, as the 58 year old rounded off their run to put them top of the table with a 10:58.122. Unfortunately for them though, during the changeover, Jutta entered the switch zone before the car had been put into neutral, and the team promptly received a 15 second time penalty.

Then came Lewis Hamilton’s X44, whose drivers put in a superb perormance which saw them leap to provisional pole with a 10:47.289. American racing team Chip Ganassi also had a strong showing with Leduc putting in a phenomenal performance. They ended Q1 just 4 seconds down on X44, with a time of 10:51.528.

JBXE and Xite Energy then rounded off an intriguing first qualifying session with times of 11:13.405, and 11:52.806 respectively.

The standings after Q1:

  1. X44 10:47.289
  2. Chip Ganassi +4.239
  3. RXR +15.021
  4. Abt Cupra +25.833
  5. JBXE +26.116
  6. Veloce +50.310
  7. Xite Energy +1:05.517
  8. Andretti United +3:52.376
  9. Acciona Sainz DNF

Qualifying 2:

Going into Q2 the teams switched around their starting driver, which meant Stephane Sarrazin kicked off the final qualifying session of the Ocean X Prix for Veloce. The team had a relatively uneventful run and saw them post a combined time of 23:05.370.

Andretti United went into this session attempting to claw back as much of their lost time as possible. Unfortunately for the american outfit, they were unable to do so and were left with a 25:57.068. Their only chance of progressing to the semi finals would come from other teams running into problems.

Rosberg X Racing’s Molly Taylor got some serious air time in her final lap but some excellent car control prevented her from spinning out. They achieved a combined time of 22:12.438, putting them in a temporary pole position. Abt Cupra almost dislodged them straight away but ended up just 8 seconds behind with a 22:20.813.

X44 were the early pace setters in Q1, and another flying run from both of their drivers saw them jump up to the top of the time sheets with a 21:44.856. Close competitors Chip Ganassi got off to a tremendous start in their final qualifying run and were even a few seconds up on X44’s time. But then disaster struck. Just as Leduc entered the tree section, his car ground to a halt. After some desperate button pressing the car got going again, but it would be impossible to claw back the several minutes of time he had lost. Teammate Sara Price brought the car home, finishing with a 25:41.815.

With three teams having issues, remaining teams JBXE and Xite Energy just needed to have uneventful runs and see the cars home. Both teams did exactly that and finished with total times of 22:25.426 and 23:36.461 respectively.

Acciona Sainz rounded off the session after just managing to fix the issues they had had in Q1. With them not setting a time in that session, all they could do in Q2 was attempt to set the fastest time through the super sector. Both drivers pushed hard but ultimately neither were able to claim it from Chip Ganassi’s Kyle Leduc.

The final qualifying positions:

  1. X44 21:44.856
  2. RXR +27.580
  3. Abt Cupra +35.950
  4. JBXE +40.570
  5. Veloce +1:20.510
  6. Xite Energy +1:51.600
  7. Chip Ganassi +3:56.960
  8. Andretti United +4:12.210
  9. Acciona Sainz +1 Lap

Following an exciting Saturday the gap at the top of the team standings has closed slightly with RXR just 4 points ahead of X44. The current standings:

  1. RXR 46 Points
  2. X44 42 Points  
  3. Andretti 33 Points
  4. Sainz 30 Points 
  5. Xite 27 Points
  6. JBXE 26 Points 
  7. Abt Cupra 23 Points 
  8. Chip Ganassi 17 Points  
  9. Veloce 12 Points

All eyes now turn to Sunday where we will see the teams face off to determine the final finishing positions. In Semi Final 1, the first two finishers of X44, RXR, and Abt Cupra will progress to the final, where they will be joined by the top two finishers of Semi Final 2 (which consists of JBXE, Veloce, and Xite Energy). The shoot-out will be contested by Chip Ganassi, Andretti United, and Acciona Sainz as they vie for positions seven to nine.

It’s certain to be an exciting final day as the nine teams battle it out to be crowned rulers of the Ocean X Prix.

Extreme E: Ocean X Prix Preview

After a long wait, the inaugural season of Extreme E resumes with the Ocean X Prix; aiming to highlight issues relating to ocean health.

Lac Rose Circuit

Picture courtesy of Extreme E

Following its successful debut in AlUla, Saudi Arabia, the exciting, new, electric rally series heads to the home of off-road racing, with the teams set to take on sections of the world renowned Dakar Rally. Based around Lac Rose, Dakar, the teams and drivers will race along the Senegalese coastline before turning onto a more technical section in among the sand dunes. Along the way the racers will have to contend with surface changes as well as lots of elevation changes. This is sure to be a true test of the drivers skills.

Format Changes

Coming into this weekend there are a couple of format changes to be aware of. Qualifying will continue to take place over two sessions, with the times being added up to give a team’s final qualifying time. The quickest three teams will then face off in the first of two semi finals, with the top two finishers of that race advancing to the final. The fourth to sixth fastest qualifiers will also race against each other in the second of the two semi finals, but with the top two finishers also now advancing to the final. This means we will now see a four car final, as opposed to the three car final we witnessed in AlUla. The slowest three qualifiers will still compete for positions seventh to ninth in the shoot-out.

The Ocean X Prix also sees the introduction of the super sector. An extra five points is now available to the team whose driver is the quickest through a specific section of the track. This means that everyone still has a chance of gaining points for their respective teams, regardless of where they qualify.

Dakar, Senegal Circuit Map
Picture Courtesy of Extreme E

Championship Battle:

Just nine points separate the top four teams in the championship standings with the title fight beginning to heat up. After a dominant win in AlUla, Rosberg X Racing head the table with thirty five points, closely followed by X44, Andretti United, and Acciona Sainz with thirty, twenty eight, and twenty six points respectively. Veloce foot the table with just four points following a crash in shakedown that saw them miss most of the rest of the weekend.

Driver Line-up Alterations:

2009 Formula One World Champion and JBXE team owner Jenson Button has stepped aside from his racing duties this weekend in order to focus on his team management role. Stepping in to replace him is Kevin Hansen, rally cross driver and brother of Andretti United driver, Timmy Hansen. Kevin is no stranger to Extreme E, helping to develop and test the Odyssey 21 in its early stages of development. He is also a good friend of teammate Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky, with the pair having raced together in local rally championships when they were younger.

With a revised format, a title battle on a knife edge, and racing around the famous Dakar Rally, you’d be crazy to miss this weekend’s Extreme E action.

Scott Dixon Snatches Indianapolis 500 Pole from Colton Herta. Will Power and de Silvestro Narrowly Qualify.

Scott Dixon keeps his remarkable momentum going with a fourth pole position at the Indianapolis 500. His four-lap average of 231.685 mph topped the Fast Nine Shootout and will start on the front-row alongside Andretti Autosport’s Colton Herta and Ed Carpenter Racing’s Rinus VeeKay.

Colton Herta initially set a blistering four-lap average of 231.655 mph to take provisional pole, but Dixon had other ideas. Dixon was the last to run, and when he landed a 232.757 on his opening lap it was clear that Ganassi’s six-time IndyCar champion had the potential to earn his fourth pole. His drop-off was around 1.1mph across the four laps, so his final margin over Herta was only 0.03mph – after 10 miles of flat-out driving around the Indianapolis Motor Speedway – but the job was done.

The next closest threat came from Rinus VeeKay, one of two drivers for Ed Carpenter Racing in the Fast Nine Shootout in what was a remarkable day for the team. Despite a small wiggle coming out of Turn 1 on his fourth lap, the Dutchman’s 231.511 was enough to start ahead of teammate Ed Carpenter (231.504 mph). They made up the only Chevrolet cars in an afternoon that was dominated by Honda.

Tony Kanaan (231.032 mph) starts ahead of his Spanish teammate Alex Palou (231.032 mph) to round out the second-row. For the Brazilian to out-qualify two of his full-time counterparts is nothing short of sensational.

The third-row will be shared between Ryan Hunter-Reay (230.499 mph), Helio Castroneves (230.355 mph), and Marcus Ericsson (230.318 mph). Meyer Shank Racing will be incredibly happy with Castroneves’s performance to pip the final Chip Ganassi driver in the session.

This afternoon also saw the final-row shootout for those who failed to make the Top 30 in yesterday’s qualifying. Will Power, Simona de Silvestro, Sage Karam, Charlie Kimball, and RC Enerson were all at risk of not qualifying for this year’s Indianapolis 500.

de Silvestro qualifies for the Indy 500. Photo Courtesy of Chris Owens.

It was Karam, Power, and de Silvestro who eventually qualified for the final-row in what was a significant milestone in the history of The Brickyard. de Silvestro and Paretta Autosport become the first female driver and all female-led team to qualify for ‘The Greatest Spectacle in Motorsport’.

Team Owner Beth Paretta was full of elation and had this to say on their achievement: “This is just the beginning!”

Consequentially, that means both Kimball and Enerson fail to qualify for the Indianapolis 500.

Some other shock performances in Saturday qualifying came from Penske’s Josef Newgarden and Simon Pagenaud. Newgarden made multiple qualifying attempts but was forced to settle with a 230.071 mph four-lap average, good enough only for 21st. Likewise, Simon Pagenaud closed the day in 26th after setting an average of 229.778 mph in what was a difficult day for Chevrolet-powered teams.

Defending Indianapolis 500 winner Takuma Sato will start from 15th. The last to win the 500′ after starting outside the Top 10 was Alexander Rossi in 2016. Incidentally, Rossi just missed out on the Fast Nine Shootout and starts 10th.

With the grid now set, teams have two more practice sessions before the 105th running of the Indianapolis 500, which will take place next Sunday 30 May at  17:00 (BST.)

FULL CLASSIFICATION:

  1. Dixon
  2. Herta
  3. VeeKay
  4. Carpenter
  5. Kanaan
  6. Palou
  7. Hunter-reay
  8. Castroneves
  9. Ericsson
  10. Rossi
  11. Jones
  12. O’Ward
  13. Fittipaldi
  14. Rosenqvist
  15. Sato
  16. Hinchcliffe
  17. McLaughlin
  18. Rahal
  19. Daly
  20. Harvey
  21. Newgarden
  22. Hildebrand
  23. Ferrucci
  24. Montoya
  25. Andretti
  26. Pagenayd
  27. Bourdais
  28.  Wilson
  29. Chilton
  30. Kellet
  31. Karam
  32. Power
  33. de Silvestro

The Greatest Spectacle in Racing: The Indianapolis 500 Preview

It’s here. The ‘Greatest Spectacle in Racing’ is just around the corner as the eyes of the world descend on Indianapolis. A race that is etched into motorsport folklore with unbridled, full-throttle, commitment, and speed. We are, of course, talking about the Indy 500!

May is an incredible month of racing with the Monaco GP on May 23 before Indy 500 on May 30, although the latter is more like a two-week event as practice and qualifying start the week before the intense 500-mile, 200-lap race.

In fact, qualifying is set to take place across both Saturday and Sunday, beginning with the general shootout with the ‘Fast Six’ on the final day.

We also return to some form of normality, with the Indy 500 returning to its rightful place at the end of May – following last year’s postponed event that took place in the middle of August. Unlike last year, we will also have spectators with 135,000 in attendance, a whopping 40% capacity!

DRIVERS! DRIVERS EVERYWHERE!

This season truly has been one to remember. The 2021 campaign has had five race winners in five races with three of those being first-time winners in Alex Palou, Patricio O’Ward, and Rinus VeeKay.

Current championship leader Scott Dixon and Colton Herta won the other two races and the six-time champion will indeed be pushing for his second Indy 500 win having last achieved it in 2008.

The last seven winners are all present this year including Tony Kanaan, Ryan Hunter-Reay, Alexander Rossi, Will Power, Simon Pagenaud, Juan Pablo Montoya, and defending 500′ winner Takuma Sato. Both Sato and Montoya head into this race seeking an incredible third win which would put them tied fourth on the all-time winners list alongside the likes of Bobby Unser and Dario Franchetti.

Three-time winner Helio Castroneves also returns to the Brickyard. A win would put him tied first on the all-time list alongside A.J.Foyt, Al Unser Jr, and Rick Mears.

While the veterans of the sport all bring swathes of experience to the event, it’s the younger drivers who will certainly share the spotlight.

Rinus VeeKay won last time out at the IMS in a spectacular display of racecraft, cutting his way through the field to beat pole-sitter, Romain Grosjean, to the chequered flag. Last year, the Dutchman qualified inside the ‘Fast Six’ on his first attempt at the Brickyard, setting one of the fastest speeds ever seen at the 500′ in the process.

Scott Dixon followed by Alex Palou. 500 Practice. Photo Courtesy of Chris Owens.

Alongside him in last year’s Fast Six’ was Alex Palou, who likely caught the attention of his current outfit Chip Ganassi with his performance that weekend. Heading into this weekend second in the championship, Palou has an incredible opportunity to capitalise on the double points on offer.

Graham Rahal was one of the fastest in the pre-season test at the Brickyard and showed a similar pace in this week’s practice. The American driver has shown some incredible pace this year putting in two top-five finishes at the double-header in Texas.

There really are contenders everywhere you look. With Patricio O’Ward. Colton Herta, Alexander Rossi, Josef Newgarden, Jack Harvey, Conor Daly, and Scott McLaughlin also looking incredibly sharp coming into qualifying.

FRESH FACES

As ever, we welcome a host of fresh faces to the 500′. Among these are rookies Pietro Fittipaldi and RC Enerson and veterans Pablo Montoya, Tony Kanaan, Santino Ferucci, Stefan Wilson, Ed Carpenter, and JR Hildebrand.

Marco Andretti returns with Andretti. He was last year’s pole-sitter and will be looking to repeat that feat this weekend.

Simona De Silvestro. Photo Courtesy of Chris Owens.

Simona De Silvestro also makes her Indy 500 comeback with the all-female Paretta Autosport outfit. This marks De Silvestro’s first run since the 2015 edition of the race.  The Swiss driver has made hints that she could make further IndyCar outings with Paretta in the future.

Both Romain Grosjean and Jimmie Johnson will not be taking part this weekend with both set to return at the Detriot GP.

HONDA VS CHEVY?

So far in practice, there doesn’t seem to be an overall advantage in what is set to be an incredibly competitive battle. Will Power with Penske Chevrolet topped Tuesday practice while Scott Dixon’s Chip Ganassi Honda topped Wednesday.

Honda, and Chevy have three wins apiece in six attempts. While the only oval comparison we can make this year at Texas was slightly skewed due to qualifying being canceled with the championship standings used to set the grid for the race. Both races were one by an Arrow McLaren SP Chevrolet and Chip Ganassi Honda.

This race truly could be anyones for the taking.

YOU DO NOT WANT TO MISS THIS.

Thursday, May 20
5-11pm (BST): Indy 500 Practice

Friday, May 21
5-11:00pm (BST): Indy 500 Practice

Saturday, May 22
6-7:00pm (BST): Indy 500 Qualifying

Sunday, May 23
6-7.30pm (BST): Last Chance Qualifying
7.30-9.30pm (BST): Fast Nine Qualifying

Friday, May 28                                                                                                                                       3-5:00pm (BST): Final indy 500 Practice

Sunday, May 30                                                                                                                      4:30/4:45 (BST): Indy 500 Race Start