The ruthlessness of the mighty Al Ula desert might have set Veloce Racing into a major heartbreak, but that didn’t stop the team from learning to bounce back. Their effort immediately paid off as teammates Stéphane Sarrazin and Jamie Chadwick managed to secure their first podium after an unusual head-to-head with Rosberg X Racing.
It was Sarrazin’s turn who dived first in the finals when JBXE and X44 ran into trouble and forced to retire. That left the French driver to hunt down Molly Taylor, which he did in due course. Passing the Australian driver was proved to be difficult, he was unable to overtake and headed to the switch zone. Then the red flag halted proceedings as the retired cars were recovered, which meant a restart from the original grid for Chadwick and Johan Kristoffersson.
The 2019 W Series champion tried to hold the RXR driver but to no avail. A light contact was made and Chadwick was forced to back out of the fight, in which Kristoffersson said “it was not intentional at all, it’s more of the issue with my Hyperdrive.” Nevertheless, she brought the car safe and managed to gain a significant amount of points plus a podium, which the team did not expect at all. It was not their main objective to see themselves bringing the award home, considering their pace wasn’t really strong.
“Honestly I’ve just really enjoyed the weekend. We were aware of our pace, it wasn’t the quickest outright, the car wasn’t where we needed it to be at the beginning and I think we lacked a bit of seat time, so we just focused on the plan.
Having driven in this situation for the first time, Chadwick admitted that there is a stark difference between her being strapped into the Spark Odyssey 21 and single-seaters. She also noted that the presence of big names on the grid never failed to amaze her.
“This is very different to driving single-seaters as I’m constantly learning throughout the process, and I think it’s also new for everyone else.
“Another coolest thing for me this weekend was I nearly had the chance to be racing wheel to wheel with the likes of Sébastien Loeb and in the end, Johan Kristoffersson. I’d never have imagined that was going to happen!
“I think Extreme E’s such a crazy championship so take that P2 with the alternate strategy was great. A massive thanks to the team and I’m so grateful that we’ve managed to get a podium by the end of the weekend.”
Meanwhile Sarrazin said that the ultimate plan was simply not to fail to avoid repeating any mistakes. “This weekend the plan was to really not make any mistakes. We’ve improved the set-up of the car and we need mileage also to learn the car. We are happy, it’s just amazing.
“To improve during the weekend we had to look at the various lines and improve the car and in the end we found a really good line. This stage was very good as we found a different line to overtake.”
Now that the first podium is secured, what’s the next plan for Veloce in Arctic XPrix in August? Chadwick said they’re very keen to be fast, and hopefully so.
“Over the next three months we will be pushing hard to train, and Greenland will present a new challenge. We want to be able to jump in and quick.”
Final Ocean XPrix results
|1||Johan Kristofferson/Molly Taylor||Rosberg X Racing||21:52|
|2||Stéphane Sarrazin/Jamie Chadwick||Veloce Racing||+14.67|
|3||Kevin Hansen/Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky||JBXE||+2 laps|
|4||Sébastien Loeb/Cristina Gutiérrez||X44||+2 laps|