Extreme EOther

Arctic XPrix guide: Greenland’s first-ever motorsport event in the history

4 Mins read

After racing in relatively warm places, it’s time to go all the way into the north. This weekend, the third round of Extreme E takes place just outside the area of Kangerlussuaq in west Greenland. It is also home to the once-mighty Russell Glacier which is also the reason why XE wanted to race in the area. Part of the course itself was previously occupied by the glacier but has melted due to accelerated temperature rise.

CEO Extreme E Alejandro Agag said that Greenland has long become the first choice on his to-do list.

This was the first venue when I was researching locations for Extreme E two years ago. In fact, I wanted to go to Greenland ever since I started this series.

I needed somewhere where the ship could come close, not far from the ice cap with a bigger runway so I looked with Google Earth going through all of Greenland. I saw the runway so I zoomed in and saw there was a road, so I googled the town nearest which was Kangerlussuaq.

“I didn’t want to race on the ice as I knew we’d have more reactions racing on the ice. This area was the right place as we are close to the ice cap but not on it.

Preparing a race in the Arctic certainly is never an easy job, but Agag is immensely grateful for the way his team has put everything together to make the championship work.

“Greenland is an incredible place and I’m delighted to be putting on the first motorsport event here. Huge credit to the team behind the scenes, it really is a testament to the hard work of everyone involved. Putting an event in the remote Arctic is not an easy feat.

“It is about highlighting the issues faced by the island including ice melt leading to global sea level rise. We really are at a tipping point in the climate crisis and I’m looking forward to hearing from our Scientific Committee, not only about the issues but the solutions on what to offer, including electric vehicles, one of the key parts of Extreme E.”

CEO Extreme E Alejandro Agag takes an ice sample during the track walk (credits: Sam Bagnall)

Race format

Saturday (28/8)

Qualifying will take place twice in the day, one session in the morning and one in the afternoon with each team completing two laps, one per driver with a driver Switch. The times recorded across the morning session will equate to classification points meaning first place receives 9, second place 8, third place 7 points and so on. The same thing happens in the afternoon with classification points awarded on the same scale.

The combined total of these classification points provides the intermediate standings, which is based on points instead of times as seen in Saudi Arabia and Senegal, meaning a fairer opportunity for all teams to progress, particularly if a poor time or DNF for example is recorded in one session. These points do not equate to championship points – they are awarded in the same way as previous rounds.

  • Teams placed in first, fifth and sixth progress to Semi-Final 1, where the top two finishers claim spots in the Arctic X Prix Final.
  • Second, third and fourth from Qualifying go through to Semi-Final 2, where again the top two progress to the Arctic X Prix Final.
  • The bottom three teams (7th, 8th and 9th) head to the Crazy Race, with the winner reaching the Arctic X Prix Fina

Sunday (29/8)

Five cars are featured to race in the final this time, with the winner of Crazy Race who will manage to fight their way to score a podium.

The ‘Super Sector’ is making a return in the Arctic course where the fastest driver in that section over the weekend will earn five points for their team. SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing‘s Kyle Leduc is the latest driver who scored the points back in Senegal.

Race course

Arctic XPrix race course

*updated track length: 8.1 km

Turns out the edge of Russell Glacier has much more to offer compared to previous tracks, which are predominantly covered by sands. The large, relatively open plain has a mixture of rock sizes from large boulders to fine glacial sediment and sand dunes, crafted by the wind blowing down the valley and the melting water coming off the glacier. The course proven to be quite challenging as it gives more pressure to the cars and drivers are expected to perform without mistakes.

Line up change

Following their first appearance in Senegal two months ago, Jutta Kleinschmidt (ABT Cupra) and Kevin Hansen (JBXE) are expected to race again alongside their respective teammates. Kleinschmidt, the first woman ever to win Dakar Rally in 2001, has been officially confirmed by his team to become their full-time driver for the rest of this season. It is also confirmed that Jenson Button will be back onsite to fill his role as the team’s race director.

Changes are happening in Veloce Racing too, with the team’s reserve driver Emma Gilmour steps up to replace Chadwick’s seat for Arctic XPrix. The latter has a conflicting schedule due to her commitment for W Series in Spa-Francorchamps this weekend.

New Zealand driver Emma Gilmour is having her Extreme E debut this week (credits: Colin McMaster)

Current standings and driver line up for Sunday (29/8)

Rosberg X Racing‘s second victory in Senegal helped the team confidently surged forward, gaining 14 points off the X44 in the standings. Lack of fortune that caused Gutierrez’s car broke down in the middle of last race didn’t help much with the classification. Meanwhile Ocean XPrix second place sitter Veloce Racing brought home a considerable amount of points after an unlucky session in Al Ula.

PosDriversTeamPoints
1Johan Kristofferson/Molly TaylorRosberg X Racing71
2Sébastien Loeb/Cristina GutiérrezX4457
3Kevin Hansen/Mikaela Åhlin-KottulinskyJBXE44
4Timmy Hansen/Catie MunningsAndretti United Extreme E37
5Oliver Bennett/Christine Giampaoli ZoncaXITE Energy Racing37
6Carlos Sainz/Laia SanzAcciona Sainz XE Team36
7Mattias Ekström/Jutta KleinschmidtAbt CUPRA XE35
8Stéphane Sarrazin/Jamie ChadwickVeloce Racing31
9Kyle LeDuc/Sara PriceSegi TV Chip Ganassi Racing30

Gridplay

GridPlay enables fans to vote for their favourite team and influence the starting line-up for the Final. Teams that don’t make it into the Final can gift votes to their preferred competitors. The vote opens at 11.00 CEST on this Wednesday (26/5) and will be closed at 13.00 CEST on Sunday (29/5).

Race schedule (all timings are CEST)

Saturday (28/8)

1330 – 1530 CEST    Qualifying  Round 1

1800 – 2000 CEST    Qualifying  Round 2

Sunday (29/8)

1200 – 1330 CEST     Semi Finals

1600 – 1800 CEST     Final  

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