(Motorsport) Defending champions X44 Vida Carbon Racing and Season 2 title contenders GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing secured the perfect start to their Season 3 campaign with wins in their respective Qualifying 1 Heats.
Despite both outfits fielding a debutant they secured the top spots in a dramatic Q1, which saw a roll for Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E’s Catie Munnings and multiple ODYSSEY 21s missing some bodywork.
Qualifying 1 – Heat 1
As the five teams charged towards the opening corner, it was RJ Anderson in the lead for GMC HUMMER EV, ahead of Extreme E returner Mattias Ekström in the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team car.
Carl Cox Motorsport’s Timo Scheider slotted into third, with Timmy Hansen and Nasser Al-Attiyah rounding out the pack after the ABT CUPRA XE driver made contact with the back of the Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E car.
Out in front Ekström soon closed in on Anderson, pulling up alongside the American but falling short of the overtake as Anderson clung onto the inside line.
Anderson held off multiple attempts by the Swede before entering the Switch Zone in first, with Scheider, Hansen and Al-Attiyah maintaining their track position not far behind the leading pair.
As Laia Sanz took over the wheel for ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, she tried an alternate line, putting the pressure on Extreme E newcomer Amanda Sorensen as they approached the shoreline section.
The move proved too much as the Spaniard ran wide into the water, giving Sorensen the breathing room she needed to take a win on debut for GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing ahead of ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team in second.
Klara Andersson suffered a similar fate to Sanz, running wide onto the water as she pushed to close the gap from fifth for ABT CUPRA XE. Ahead of the Swede, a tight battle ensued between Carl Cox Motorsport and Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E as Chirstine GZ and Catie Munnings fought hard for third and those all important points for a place in the Grand Final.
As the tussling pair left the shoreline, Munnings made an aggressive move on the inside of GZ but rolled as her ODYSSEY 21 bounced on an unforgiving bump in the terrain.
The incident put Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E out of the race, ensuring a comfortable third on debut for Carl Cox Motorsport and fourth place for the recovering ABT CUPRA XE team.
Qualifying 2 – Heat 2
Heat 2 was no less action-packed, as the new sporting format delivered excitement from the outset.
NEOM McLaren Extreme E’s Tanner Foust emerged at the front of the pack initially, closely followed by Rosberg X Racing’s (RXR) Johan Kristoffersson as the pair took a wider line into the first corner.
In their rear view mirror, X44 Vida Carbon Racing debutant Fraser McConnell stuck to the inside line of the tight right-hander, and cut through from fourth place all the way to first.
A steady start from JBXE’s Heikki Kovalainen saw the Finn in third, behind Foust and ahead of Kristoffersson in his first Extreme E race.
Having followed the same line as McConnell, Veloce Racing’s Kevin Hansen was cut off and left to chase down Kristoffersson from fifth place. Hansen soon passed his fellow Swede, making use of his ENOWA Hyperdrive on the shoreline straight.
Up ahead a confident drive from McConnell saw the Jamaican extend his lead, though only just over six seconds separated the pack from front to back. The wheel-to-wheel action behind him resulted in contact between Kovalainen and Hansen as the latter tried to make the overtake.
Returning to the shoreline straight on the second lap, Foust lost time as he dipped a wheel into the water, opening the door for Kovalainen to surge into second place as NEOM McLaren Extreme E dropped to third in front of Veloce Racing and RXR.
The teams entered the Switch Zone in this order, but Veloce Racing’s Molly Taylor managed to leapfrog Emma Gilmour in the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team car. As that tight-knit pack launched out of the Switch Zone, Taylor then got the better of JBXE’s Hedda Hosås to take second place, forcing the Norwegian to take the alternate, and ultimately slower, line.
Behind them RXR’s Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky stole fourth place from Gilmour right by the water’s edge. The NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team driver then made contact with the RXR ODYSSEY 21 as she tried and failed to take back the position.
X44 Vida Carbon Racing pulled clear to take the win, followed by Veloce Racing in a comfortable second place after a tricky opening. JBXE’s Hosås, coming under pressure from RXR’s Åhlin-Kottulinsky, made use of her ENOWA Hyperdrive to hold onto that all important third place in the Heat ahead of RXR and NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team in fifth.
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Qualifying 1 Results:
- GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing 11:32:914
- ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team +3.384
- Carl Cox Motorsport +18.663
- ABT CUPRA XE +2:09.126 (PENALISED)
- Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E DNF
- X44 Vida Carbon Racing 11:32.993
- Veloce Racing +8.734
- JBXE +19.100
- Rosberg X Racing +20.980
- NEOM McLaren Extreme E +28.728 (PENALISED)
Overall Qualifying 1 Standings:
- X44 Vida Carbon Racing: 10 points
- GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing: 10 points
- ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 8 points
- Veloce Racing: 8 points
- Carl Cox Motorsport: 6 points
- JBXE: 6 points
- Rosberg X Racing: 4 points
- ABT CUPRA XE: 4 points
- NEOM McLaren Extreme E: 2 points
- Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E: 0 points