The spectacular new off-road racing series Extreme E made an appearance in Senegal, during its second race weekend. On the banks of Lac Rosé, not far from Dakar, the pack was completely reshuffled. Not only did completely different climatic conditions await the teams, but also completely different driving challenges. It was a chance for all teams that had not made it to the finals in Al-Ula to turn the tide. At first, everything looked as if this could succeed. In the end, only unfortunate circumstances prevented the complete reorganisation of the ranking.
The first bad luck of the Ocean XPrix was Kyle LeDuc from Team Chip Ganassi. The American drove an impressive second qualifying session, with a chance of setting the best time, when his ODYSSEY 21 suddenly stopped on the track. The branch of a mangrove had become entangled in the emergency power off switch on the roof of the racing car and put the e-SUV out of action. Kyle LeDuc managed to start the car again, but in the end he and his teammate Sara Price missed the semi-finals due to the unfortunate incident. As winners in the Shootout race, they later collected important points for the rankings.
The TEAM ABT Cupra XE was also very strong, with Jutta Kleinschmidt at the wheel alongside Mattias Ekström this time, as regular pilot Claudia Hürtgen was absent due to illness. Team ABT Cupra XE suffered two serious accidents at the start in Saudi Arabia and were therefore only able to collect a few points. In Senegal, Mattias Ekström and Jutta Kleinschmidt delivered a spectacular performance, finishing qualifying in third place and taking the lead in the first semi-final until the driver change. Unfortunately, problems with the radio cost them valuable seconds. The Dakar winner of 2001 then set the fastest lap time but had to admit defeat at the finish by only nine tenths of a second.
Things went even better for team JBXE with Continental test pilot Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Kevin Hansen, who started for Jenson Button this time. The sixth-place team from Saudi Arabia made it to the final, where a rebound by Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky with Team X44’s Cristina Gutiérrez meant the end for both ODYSSEY 21’s. Because the Swede kept the car in the race even longer afterwards, it was enough for third place in the competition and a jump in the overall classification.
The biggest improvement in performance was recorded by Stéphane Sarrazin and Jamie Chadwick of Team Veloce Racing, who had collected the fewest points of all the teams in Saudi Arabia. In the dunes of Senegal, they finished the final in second place behind Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor of Rosberg X Racing.
“During this weekend, Extreme E showed its true colours with spectacular wheel-to-wheel duels, breath-taking overtaking manoeuvres and excitement until the last second,” says Sandra Roslan, who is responsible for the project at founding partner and tyre supplier Continental. “And we’re proud to be a part of this great series. The CrossContact Extreme E not only provided perfect grip on the wet beach sections, but also withstood the extraordinary loads during the jumps over the hard bumps in the dunes. We are now all full of anticipation for what awaits us in Greenland.”
In the first overall ranking in the history of Extreme E, team Rosberg X Racing, with Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor, continues to lead ahead of Sébastien Loeb and Cristina Gutiérrez in team X44. In third place are Jenson Button and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who have pushed Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings into fourth place. While Rosberg X Racing and the X44 team of Formula 1 World Champion Lewis Hamilton were able to extend their lead, whilst the teams behind them have moved closer together.
The series continues August 28 and 29 with the Arctic XPrix in Greenland. In Kangerlussuaq, the unlucky teams from the second race weekend once again have the chance to turn the classification upside down. In the eternal ice, the teams will again face completely different climatic conditions and completely new driving challenges.
1. Rosberg X Racing (Johan Kristoffersson / Molly Taylor) 71 points
2. X44 (Sébastien Loeb / Cristina Gutiérrez) 57 points
3. JBXE (Jenson Button / Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky) 44 points
4. Andretti United (Timmy Hansen / Catie Munnings) 37 points
5. XITE ENERGY RACING (Oliver Bennett / Christine GZ) 37 points
6. ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team (Carlos Sainz / Laia Sanz) 36 points
7. ABT Cupra XE (Mattias Ekström / Claudia Hürtgen) 35 points
8. Veloce Racing (Stéphane Sarrazin / Jamie Chadwick) 31 points
9. Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc / Sara Price) 30 points
Overview of the other race dates in 2021:
Kangerlussuaq, Greenland 28./29. August
Santarém, Brazil 23./24. October
Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego 11./12. December