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!

Extreme E: Arctic XPrix Preview

image courtesy of ExtremeE

Taking place in the picturesque landscape of Kangerlussuaq, Greenland, Extreme E returns this weekend with its first ever Arctic XPrix.

Greenland is set to host its first ever motorsport event in just a few days time as the teams and drivers prepare to take on the ice and snow. Kangerlussuaq, where the race is being held, is home to the now greatly diminished Russell Glacier, the remnants of which will provide a good site to host the eight kilometre circuit. Drivers will have to negotiate tricky technical sections around rocks, as well as more open sections, all whilst coping with an icy surface. The Arctic XPrix circuit will host a challenge never seen before in Extreme E

Something else that’s never been seen before in Extreme E is the five car final, which is one of a number of changes to the weekend format. Learning from the last two events, qualifying has had a shakeup, with each of the two sessions awarding classification points, rather than providing a combined time. Now, the fastest team in each session will be awarded nine points, with other teams being awarded eight to one each session respectively.  The overall qualifying positions will be set by the highest to lowest number of points, giving teams who DNF in one of their runs more of a chance. Should any teams be on equal points, they will be ordered by their fastest super sector times.  It is important to note that these classification points do not count towards the championship.

Once the qualifying classification has been established, the teams will take part in one of three races. The teams that qualify in first, fifth, or sixth will race in Semi Final One, with the top two progressing to the final. The second, third, and fourth qualifiers will race in Semi Final Two. The top two finishers in this race will also progress to the final. The bottom three qualifiers will all face off in the Crazy Race, where only the winner will complete the grid for the final.

The championship points system remains unchanged for this weekend, as points are awarded for both qualifying and the race. Twelve points will still be awarded to the top qualifier and the rest of the points will be evenly distributed down to four points for the ninth qualifier. Points will also be awarded for the final race classification, with the winner receiving twenty five points, down to the bottom finisher receiving four. Five points will still be awarded to the team with the fastest super sector time of the weekend.

Coming in to the weekend, Rosberg X Racing hold a fourteen point lead over X44 with a total of seventy one points. JBXE are a further thirteen points back, with just seven points separating the remaining six teams.

The Arctic XPrix will also see a couple of changes to the driver line ups. Jutta Kleinschmidt, who raced for ABT Cupra in Senegal in place of an ill Claudia Hurtgen, will make her debut as a full time driver for the team, replacing Claudia, who wanted to put more focus on her other driving roles. Senegal also saw Kevin Hansen replace Jenson Button at JBXE as the Formula One champion looked to prioritise his role as team principle. Kevin will continue to partner Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky at the Arctic XPrix. Veloce reserve driver Emma Gilmour will come in to the team in place of Jamie Chadwick, who is racing in W Series at Spa this weekend.

Every Extreme E event aims to both highlight an environmental issue, and leave a positive impact on the communities they visit. This weekend, the series will discuss melting ice sheets and rising sea levels. The legacy program consists of several seminars and teaching resources, which hopes to transform climate education in Greenland. It is believed around three thousand six hundred Greenlandic children will take part in Climate Week in September, as they learn about the issues surrounding climate change and how they can address them. Extreme E have partnered with UNICEF to make this happen.

The one of world’s cleanest racing series, racing in one of the world’s most beautiful locations. You’d be a fool to miss it!