X44, Rosberg X Racing fastest in both qualifying sessions

Cristina Gutierrez (ESP)/Sebastien Loeb (FRA), X44. Credit: Extreme E Media

On Saturday the first qualifying for the Arctic X-Prix was held in Greenland. X44 and Rosberg X Racing were the fastest teams in both sessions.

Qualifying 1:

In qualifying 1, we saw a lot of action and one happy team at the end, which was X44. However, the team of Veloce Racing started the qualifying day.

Emma Gilmour was the first driver on track and made a huge mistake, which led to a 10-second penalty because she ran over a track marker. After 6 minutes and 45 seconds, there was the driver change. Stephane Sarrazin drove an almost flawless lap and set a time of 14:19.436 minutes.

The second team was JBXE Racing. Ahlin-Kottulinsky made up about 14 seconds on Veloce in the first part of the lap, but then had a problem with the car. She was able to continue about two minutes later. In the “Rock Garden” – shortly before the end of the lap – the suspension of her Odyssey 21 also broke, so Timmy Hansen was unable to get into the car at all.

Xite Energy Racing was in a good place after Christina Giampaoli Zonca’s lap. She got to the switch zone 8 seconds faster than Veloce Racing. Oliver Bennett started well and held the 8 seconds lead for a long time, but with some mistakes at the end, he finished 17 seconds behind and with a time of 14:37 minutes.

Andretti United was a victim of the “Rock Garden”. Thus, during Timmy Hansen’s run, the front suspension also broke on the US team’s car. Jutta Kleinschmidt from Team ABT Cupra once again proved her pace and gained a lead of more than twelve seconds before Mattias Ekström took over the wheel. The Swede was able to extend the gap even further and consequently took the lead.

Rosberg X Racing was the first team to send the driver out first. It was Kristoffersson’s turn, and he drove a great first part and was 7 seconds faster than Kleinschmidt. But then the car stopped all of a sudden. He was able to continue but was 20 seconds behind before the car stopped a second time. His teammate Molly Taylor did not escape without problems either. The Australian rolled over after just a few seconds, but landed back on her wheels and was actually able to continue. With some damage to the bodywork, she ultimately crossed the finish line in fourth position, 1:40 minutes behind.

Sara Price from Team Chip Ganassi got off to a good start and was four seconds faster than Kleinschmidt. Team-mate Kyle LeDuc also put in a good performance. However, he touched a track barrier with his rear, which resulted in a 10-second time penalty for the team. For this reason, the US team sorted itself behind ABT Cupra.

X44 driver Cristine Gutierrez lost just over three seconds on her lap. Teammate Sebastien Loeb, on the other hand, really turned up the heat and secured first place for Lewis Hamilton’s team with a lead of around three seconds.

Sainz XE was the last team to start the first qualifying session. Carlos Sainz Sr. was not convincing and also missed his switch zone, causing the Spanish team to lose a further five seconds. At the same time, it started to rain. Laia Sanz was unable to turn the tide and settled for 6th place.

The times after Qualifying 1:

2Kleinschmidt/EkströmABT Cupra XE+3.712
3Price/LeducChip Ganassi Racing+6.396
4Gilmour/SarrazinVeloce Racing+34.201
5GZ/BennettXite Energy Racing+51.742
6Sainz/SanzAcciona / Sainz XE Team+55.645
7Hansen/MunningsAndretti United Extreme E+1:29.950
8Kristofferson/TaylorRosberg X Racing+1:44.403
9Ahlin-Kottulinsky/HansenJBXE Racing+ 1 LAP

Qualifying 2:

Again, Stephan Sarrazin was first on the road for Veloce, but he had a mechanical problem, probably with the suspension. The car was very difficult to drive afterward for Sarrazin and Gilmour. Despite that, they set a first benchmark time.

JBXE Racing posted a time of 14:42.102 minutes. Minus the technical issues, this would have put JBXE on par with Veloce in the first qualifying session, but the car went out on breaking into the switch zone, as it did for his brother Timmy in the first qualifying session. He had quickly restarted the car but nevertheless lost 20 seconds.

ABT Cupra was very unlucky. Both rear tires and rims were damaged. Ekström and a mechanic tried to change the tires in the switch zone. However, the right tire could not be loosened, which is why the team had to decide to give up after minutes of work.

The first red flag came on Chip Ganassi Racing’s drive. Kyle Leduc’s rear suspension had completely broken after a hit, spun the tire 90 degrees, and broke off the rear fairing. He had to be dragged off.

X44 went into the second qualifying session as the favorite. 14:37.598 minutes is their time. Not much is left of the 20-second lead. She saves just over four seconds for the finish. But Christina Gutierrez lost almost all of the 20-second lead that Sebastian Loeb was able to pull out. She saved 4 seconds into the finish.

Andretti United Extreme E with Catie Munnings had nothing to do with the lead. She lost 25 seconds to Sebastian Loeb because of a few stray slaps and punches. Hansen took over and made up some time and even made it exciting. It was enough for P2 with a few seconds behind and for P4 overall.

Then it was the turn of Carlos Sainz Sr.’s team. Sainz in the first sector was about as fast as Munnings. The gap is 20 seconds. In the end, it was a time of 6:55 minutes, with a gap of 39 seconds. She seemed to be not satisfied with her belt and tried to adjust it in the transition area. Carlos Sainz Sr. could not make up much time and they finished 5th.

The strategy of the last team Rosberg X Racing was clear. Taylor was to stay as close as possible to Loeb’s time so that Kristoffersson could make up time in the indirect comparison against Gutierrez. And that went well. She gave Kristoffersson a 14-second gap, and the latter drove a super lap and they got the fastest time.

Thus X44, RXR, and ABT Cupra qualified for the first semi-final. Cupra was in P7 in the second qualifying, but it was enough for a commutated second place.

Andretti United, Veloce Racing, and Acciona will meet tomorrow in the second semi-final. In the Crazy Race, Chip Ganassi Racing, JBXE and Xite Energy Racing will compete against each other.

The point classification after both qualifying sessions:

PositionDriverTeamQ1 pointsQ2 pointsTotal
2Ekström/KleinschmidtABT Cupra XE8311
3Kristofferson/TaylorRosberg X Racing2911
4Hansen/MunningsAndretti United Extreme E3710
5Sarrazin/GilmourVeloce Racing6410
6Sainz/SanzAcciona/Sainz XE459
7Leduc/PriceChip Ganassi Racing718
8Hansen/Ahlin-KottulinskyJBXE Racing168
9Bennett/GZXite Energy Racing527
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