Extreme E

“We’ve learned a lot and we’re ready to attack”: driver’s thoughts and expectations on Ocean XPrix

4 Mins read
(Credits: Sam Bloxham)

The second round of all eSUV racing series Extreme E will be held this weekend in Lac Rose, Senegal. Known as a historical area for all motorsport enthusiasts, the track remains as challenging as ever to drivers and teams. Now that they have learned their lesson post-Desert XPrix and ready to give it their all, let’s hear how determined they are to secure (or even topple) the championship.

The table toppers

(1st: Rosberg X Racing, 2nd: X44, 3rd: Andretti United)

The top three went to head-to-head in the Final round of Desert XPrix (Credits: Steven Tee)

The very first Extreme E series has witnessed the frantic fight between the Rosberg X Racing, Andretti United, and X44 in the Finals. The former two proved to be strongest at the time, racing to finish first while leaving X44 seconds behind. Molly Taylor & Johan Kristofferson took the victory both in the race and overall standings, leading the pack with 35 points in hand. Followed by Andretti United who finished second but occupy the third place for standings (28 pts), somehow switching places with the third finisher X44 but sit second in the overall championship with 30 pts.

Johan Kristofferson, Rosberg X Racing: “Senegal will be a brand-new challenge for everyone, but that’s one of the greatest things about Extreme E: every event is so unique! Despite the differences, we’ll do our best to improve on our performance in Al Ula and aim to be competitive ever again.

Sébastien Loeb, X44: “I’m looking forward to racing again in Senegal with Cristina. In the last race obviously there were things that didn’t go our way, but we proved ourselves that we’re a very competitive team and we’re able to get results under pressure.

“The Ocean XPrix will be entirely new terrain. Fortunately, we have an incredible group of people working with us, so I’m excited to go to Senegal and fight again for a win.”

Cristina Gutiérrez, X44: “I’m super excited to get back racing again in Senegal. Obviously things in Saudi didn’t go as planned, but we got a great result overall and it put us in the good position. We learned a lot from the last race and we’re going to take those learnings to this race so we can remain competitive.”

Catie Munnings, Andretti United: “Last race certainly wasn’t plain sailing for us, especially with the puncture. Timmy and I learned so much from that and to finish second in the Final after quite a tricky start was just awesome. Right now we’re going into Senegal third in the standings, a really strong position to be in. We definitely feel well prepared and ready to apply what we learned from Saudi to Senegal, hopefully score another podium!”

Middlefields

(4th: ACCIONA Sainz XE Team, 5th: XITE Energy Racing, 6th: JBXE)

(Credits: Steven Tee)

Although Acciona Sainz XE Team enjoyed a close fight in the Semi Final-1, they narrowly missed out on a place in the Final coming third in that session. Both XITE Energy Racing and JBXE were in the Semi Final-2 (previously named Crazy Race) but managed to get beaten out by Andretti United who made into Final. Now three of them are sitting in order in the driver standings.

Laia Sanz, Acciona Sainz XE Team: “It is important for me because I am continuously learning when it comes to racing on four wheels, which is not my natural environment. I had some positive feedbacks from the Andalusia Rally, so I am convinced that it will come handy in Senegal. Definitely feeling more confident in this second race.”

Oliver Bennett, XITE Energy Racing: “I’m anxious to get back behind the wheel and get familiar with this new electric monster. We learnt a lot in the first round and came away feeling confident and with a good strategy. It’s a new environment, most likely another extreme one so we will be prepared as we can do to fight back.”

Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, JBXE: “I’m super excited for Senegal! Saudi was the first time I’d raced on the sand and it’s going to be sand again in Senegal, although a different course. I am curious to see how the tyres perform there as we had a good run in Saudi. All and all it is great to have the experience from last event and I’m looking forward to see how the work we have done between then and Senegal will pay off.”

Final three

(7th: ABT Cupra XE, 8th: Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing, 9th: Veloce Racing)

(Credits: Extreme E)

The bottom three had to endure their first rough weekend as a team with crashes and mechanical issues hampering their effort during the last XPrix. Claudia Hürtgen of ABT Cupra XE suffered from a barrel roll in Q1, forcing the team to work extra hard for 24 hours so the car can be used for tomorrow’s event. Previously Chip Ganassi’s Kyle LeDuc was caught up in an accident during Shakedown in which he left the scene unharmed. Unfortunately both had to end the session quick as Hürtgen and LeDuc got involved in the collision. Meanwhile Veloce was forced to call it quits after Stéphane Sarrazin was sent into double barrel-roll, having safely navigated Al Ula’s ‘The Drop’. Consequently the team had to retreat from the rest of the race.

Mattias Ekström, ABT Cupra XE: “I have driven a lot of different race cars in my career and have to say Extreme E is pure fun. Senegal’s track layout with the straight along the ocean front looks amazing for the spectators in front of their screens. I was doing the Andalusia Rally to get into the mood and now can’t wait to arrive for the Ocean XPrix. We have a lot to make up for.”

Kyle LeDuc, Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing: “To climb back into a fight in the championship has always been our priority. That means gaining points at every chance possible and maximising the end result of a weekend. Take each mile of each lap and make them better than the last with the intention of results, consistency and to win.”

Stéphane Sarrazin, Veloce Racing: “I think the key with this series is to be patient. You obviously want to be quick straight away but pushing too hard early in the weekend can cause problems as we saw for several teams in Saudi. Senegal will be another different environment with very few – if any – of the drivers on the grid have raced on, so everyone has to start from the scratch again which makes the beauty of this championship.”

Jamie Chadwick, Veloce Racing: “For me, we need to be realistic with setting goals for the weekend. We didn’t get a clear picture of where we were in comparison to other teams so we just need to take it one session at a time and get the maximum potential out of the car each time we’re on track.”

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