The Extreme E has officially started! The first qualifying session took place this morning in Saudi Arabia. There was some action and also some rollovers.
When Rosberg Xtreme Racing set the fastest time, Stephane Sarrazin of the Veloce Racing Team and Claudia Hürtgen of the Abt Cupra XE each performed a spectacular rollover. Both the German and the Frenchman remained injury-free, Hürtgen with the more violent rollover left the scene of the accident on her own two feet.
Catie Munnings also caused a stir. The Briton took over the cockpit from Timmy Hansen in the Andretti United Extreme E, a flat tire cost the duo a better time. Shortly after the driver change, the tire punctured, but Munnings still managed to pilot the rally E car around the course for the remaining lap and bring it to the finish.
The Chip Ganassi car was in repairs yesterday after Kyle LeDuc had a monster crash in shakedown two, taking out the whole right side of the car. It’s clear the steering is, in the gentlest terms, wonky on Sara Price’s run after LeDuc took first go on this qualifying run but there’s no edge or speed she can use with what looks horribly like a broken steering column. Still, if she gets it back they’re ahead of the two non-finishing cars.
Behind Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson of the Rosberg Xtreme Racing Team, who rounded the course in 10:43.565 minutes, were Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez of the X44 Team, Lewis Hamilton’s team. The Spanish-French duo needed 10:48.067 minutes for the round.
There was disappointment for Jenson Button. The former Formula 1 driver finished qualifying with his partner Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinksiy from Sweden with the worst time of 12:22.426 minutes.
The final standing after qualifying 1:
1. Rosberg Extreme Racing (Johan Kristoffesson/Molly Taylor) 10:43.56
2. X44 (Sebastien Loeb/Christina Gutierrez) 10:48.067
3. Acciona Sainz (Carlos Sainz/Laia Sanz) 11:16.231
4. Andretti United Extreme E (Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen) 11:31.603
5. JBXE (Jenson Button/Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky) 12:22.426
6. Hispano Suiza Xite (Christine Giampoli Zonca/Oliver Bennett) 13:09.038
7. Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc/Sara Price) 13:33.674
8. ABT Cupra (Mattias Ekstrom/Claudia Huertgen) DNF
9. Veloce Racing Extreme E (Stephane Sarrazin/Jamie Chadwick) DNF