Following two nail-biting opening races in AlUla, Saudi Arabia and Dakar, Senegal, the Extreme E paddock arrived in Kangerlussuaq, Greenland for this weekend’s historic Arctic X Prix (28/29 August). As has been the case in each of this season’s X Prix events, Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team hold the Top Qualifier spot overnight, laying down a marker for the chasing pack.
Veloce Racing secured another consistent qualifying result with fifth in the points classification. Despite Emma Gilmour – stand-in for Jamie Chadwick – earning herself a 10-second penalty with a costly course marker and both Gilmour and Stéphane Sarrazin completing their run without power steering in Qualfiying 2, the pairing managed to avoid any major incidents to occupy the middle of the table.
“Qualifying was a big learning curve for me today,” commented Gilmour. “Although, I got to double my experience in Extreme E in first qualifying! Quali 2, Stephane had a problem with the car and then I also had a different problem which made it a bit of a challenge but we still battled through, but I think we’ll still have a pretty good overall result in Q2 as a lot of teams are also having problems.
“It’s all an amazing experience, although pretty hard being thrown in at the deep end but the Veloce team are great to work with, everyone has been so welcoming, and Stephane is also an amazing teammate.”
The pioneering electric off-road racing series’ third event sees the 18 world-class drivers in unfamiliar territory, with a dramatic drop in temperature and vastly different terrain to those seen earlier in the year. The 8.1-kilometre Arctic X Prix course features the other-worldly backdrop of the Russell Glacier as Extreme E’s unprecedented calendar locations continue to ‘wow’ drivers, teams and fans alike.
With terrain changes, sand and water hazards, ridge drops and the now-notorious ‘Rock Garden’ at the end of the lap to negotiate, this course poses one of the biggest challenges yet for the nine teams. The ‘Super Sector’ also returns in Greenland with five points being awarded to the driver with the fastest time over the weekend.
A revised racing format means classification points are now allocated to teams across the two qualifying runs instead of the combined session time deciding the result as in the first two rounds. The total of those points provides the intermediate standings and decides the order for the Semi-Finals.
It was the X44 squad that streaked ahead of the chasing pack in the qualifying points classification, as the only driver pairing to enjoy uninterrupted runs in both sessions. The potent combination of Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez stormed to victory in Qualifying 1 and followed it up with another quietly consistent performance to go P2 in Qualifying 2. Overall, the #44 car accrued 17 points – six more than their nearest competitor to mark their third top qualifier spot from three events.
Under the revised format, X44, Veloce Racing and ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team progress through to Semi-Final 1 while ABT CUPRA XE, Rosberg X Racing and Andretti United Extreme E go through to Semi-Final 2 with the top two from each race booking a slot on the grid for the Final. The Crazy Race will feature the bottom three teams – SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing, JBXE and XITE ENERGY RACING powered by myenergi – with the winner earning themselves a place in the Final. With each Semi-Final now offering the opportunity to make it to the Final, it’s all to play for on finals day at the Arctic X Prix.
Wheel-to-wheel action gets underway tomorrow (Sunday, 29 August). For more information on how to watch in your region, visit the Extreme E website.
Qualifying points classification*
1/ X44 (Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez) 17 points
2/ ABT CUPRA XE (Mattias Ekström / Jutta Kleinschmidt) 11 points
3/ Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 11 points
4/ Andretti United Extreme E(Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) 10 points
5/ Veloce Racing (Stéphane Sarrazin / Emma Gilmour) 10 points
6/ ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team (Carlos Sainz / Laia Sanz) 9 points
7/ SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price) 8 points
8/ JBXE (Kevin Hansen / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky) 7 points
9/ XITE ENERGY RACING powered by myenergi (Oliver Bennett / Christine Giampaoli Zonca) 7 points
*Qualifying points classification is a provisional result