Just Electric

RXR leads the way in Sardinia qualifying

Rosberg X Racing come out on top after qualifying for the first Island X-Prix.

The first of two Extreme E “weekends” got underway on the island of Sardinia, where Extreme E is highlighting the environmental challenges the location faces.

The reigning champions were on top in the first qualifying session, with a combined time of 9m13.966s for drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky. The Acciona Sainz squad was second quickest 11.89s back, with Genesys Andretti United P3.

Three teams were unable to complete both qualifying runs. Veloce suffered broken front left suspension on their first lap while Lance Woodridge was in the car. Then McLaren’s Tanner Foust had suspension issues on his lap. Finally, the luckless Chip Ganassi squad had an apparent electrical problem in the switch zone and Kyle LeDuc couldn’t start his lap.

There was more drama, though, for X44. The rear right tyre was pushed off its rim while Sebastien Loeb was on his lap. He suffered a puncture and significant damage to the rear bodywork, but made it back to the switch zone where a tyre as well as the driver changed. Cristina Gutierrez was then able to complete the two laps, albeit several minutes down on the leading time.

X44 ran into more problems during the second qualifying stage.

Gutierrez was in the car at the start of the qualifying heat and was battling Kristoffersson in the RXR when she went off line and dropped to the back of the order.

The RXR squad was unchallenged after the first portion of the race, finishing more than nine seconds clear of the next closest driver.

Catie Munnings in the Andretti took second at the start while Ganassi and Xite battled for third. The two swapped places a few times before the Ganassi car came to a stop.

Timo Scheider in the Xite car then closed in on Munnings and took second just before the switch.

The X44 car had been able to continue and was closing in on the battles ahead before Loeb jumped in the car. But with Loeb behind the wheel, the drivers ahead were under threat. He passed Hansen in the Andretti during the slow zone, where LeDuc was stranded. He then closed in on Tamara Molinaro in the Xite car, sweeping past to take second.

RXR took the chequered flag before Loeb could close the gap to them, but X44 finished a comfortable second ahead of Xite and Andretti.

The second head was much less dramatic. The Sainz squad led from start to finish and was unchallenged throughout.

Veloce picked up P2, but ended the race under investigation for overtaking in the switch zone. They had passed the McLaren, then driven by Emma Gilmore, as they left the switch zone.

McLaren took third on track, with JBXE and Abt following.

RXR will face Andretti and Xite in the first Semi-Final. The Acciona Sainz squad is joined by X44 and Abt.

JBXE, McLaren, Chip Ganassi and Veloce will compete in the Crazy Race for a spot in the finals.

Image courtesy of Extreme E

Bethonie Waring

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