It was an eventful first day for the Extreme E championship, with multiple technical problems and a roll during shakedown for the Desert X-Prix.
Sara Price, driving for Chip Ganassi Racing, was the first person out on track in Saudi Arabia. She was the first person to set a sector time in the Odyssey 21 in competitive conditions, but wouldn’t make it to the end of the lap. A combination of high temperatures and a bump early in the lap caused the car to shut off and she was taken back to the paddock.
“When I was going, it was a great lap and then e got about halfway and the car just stopped on me,” Price explained.
“I told the team really fast and it kind of disappeared. We couldn’t figure out what the issue was. It turned off and we couldn’t turn it back on, so they went ahead and took it back to the garage. They handed it over to Spark right away to try to diagnose the situation and the problem and the car then started.
“Kyle [LeDuc] went out and it was fine for him. No electrical issues.”
The Chip Ganassi run car wasn’t the only one to run into a similar technical problem, with Dakar Rally winner Carlos Sainz Sr running into the same problem later in the day.
Despite the issues, championship founder Alejandro Agag wasn’t too concerned.
“I have to watch the second shakedown to see how many cars break down, but in the first shakedown of Formula E… 18 cars broke down. 18 out of 20. That was no very good!
“So here, this morning, two our of nine cars broke so we’re doing a lot better. You always have these kinds of problems, technical problems. I hope no car breaks tomorrow, but it’s part of racing. Technical problems are part of racing. I would say, if seven out of nine cars broke this morning, then I would be concerned.”
Away from technical problems, the driver to run into a serious issue was Price’s Chip Ganassi team-mate LeDuc.
LeDuc rolled the car during his run in the afternoon. He was unharmed, but the incident left the team with a lot of work to do before the first session tomorrow morning.
“Kyle did roll, he’s safe, he’s doing really well,” Price confirmed. “The car is really fast, he said.
“I don’t know the condition of the vehicle as of right now, but I think we’ll be good to go after the mechanics get their hands on it. I’m just glad this is all happening on the shakedown. We’re getting those bugs out so we can have a great weekend.”
Image courtesy of Extreme E