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: UK Set to Host Extreme E Finale

image courtesy of Simon Tassie

Extreme E announced earlier today that the fifth and final race on the Extreme E calendar, the Jurassic XPrix, will take place at Bovington in the English county of Dorset on the 18-19th December.

Supposed to take place in Argentina, the all electric racing series made the difficult decision to cancel the event a few months ago due to the developing coronavirus situation. The decision to now host the finale in the UK instead, comes just a few weeks before the Island XPrix, which replaced the Amazon XPrix for similar reasons.

Bovington is a UK Army Barracks situated in the south of England. Extreme E will work closely with British Ministry of Defence to share innovative ideas on electrification to allow both parties to be at the forefront of sustainable technology. The details of the Legacy Program will be revealed closer to the event.

Speaking about the decision to move the finale to the UK, Extreme E CEO Alejandro Agag said “I am very excited by this race location… This move is a poignant shift in our mission to race in remote, far-away places to highlight the effects of Climate Change, as more increasingly, the issues we talk about are literally happening in our backyards”

The announcement comes after the UK experienced an unusually warm September, with a mean temperature 2.1 degrees above the 1981-2010 long term average and the second hottest September since records began in 1884. As temperatures continue to rise above their averages, it seems important that Extreme E emphasises that climate change is not just felt by those in remote locations; it is felt by everyone.

The Jurassic XPrix will finish the season, following the penultimate round, which takes place in Sardinia later this month. With the championship battle getting closer and closer, we look forward to seeing the winner crowned on UK soil.