Extreme E drivers are expecting a challenge after getting their first taste of the Arctic X-Prix circuit.
The drivers headed out for free practice on the Greenland circuit, which is formed on a surface which was once covered by the retreating glaciers.
While a number of drivers hit problems on their laps, all were able to get some understanding of the track, and the terrain they’ll be racing on.
“The course was great, very fun, extremely challenging, and a very different terrain and surface compared to the first two rounds,” explained JBXE’s Kevin Hansen.
“I think, at the waypoint four, the track is similar to what we had in Senegal, but from there on the surface is a bit harder.
“I really enjoyed the track, to be honest. It’s some really fast sections and some very narrow parts, and the rocky section at the end as well.”
It’s this rocky section that could become a concern during the race, with the possibilities of punctures impacting a driver’s run. Hansen actually suffered a puncture during free practice, but managed to continue his lap and get the car back to the team.
“I think it’s a great section,” said Hansen of the rock garden. “It’s super cool that we have such a different terrain that we’ve never seen something like that before. It’s a new terrain for everybody, I’m pretty sure. Maybe not Carlos [Sainz], he’s experienced everything.”
Sainz spent longer than he would have expected on his run in free practice, after a number of stoppages the team is working to resolve.
“It was quite difficult for me to find out [how the track compares to Senegal and Saudi], because I stopped four or five times today,” he said.
“It’s not easy when you have one run like that, and you stop five times with problems. Not the best start to the day.
“We have a lot of theories [about the issue]. I hope they find it because obviously I want to go to qualifying and run. If we have the same issues it’s going to be a disaster. So hopefully we can fix it and make sure it’s not like this.”
It’s not only the track surface that will be new to the drivers this weekend. The track layout is also dramatically different to those the field ran in Saudi Arabia and Senegal. While the previous two tracks started with long runs up to turn one, the Arctic X-Prix has a much shorter run.
“The beginning is really, really tricky,” said Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle LeDuc. “There are some cool elements.
“All the other races have had long straight always but the first turn in this one is pretty much right in your face. We’ll be together through turn one nad we’ll be together through two.
“It’s single file at the back by the lake, so you can’t do much back there, but then it’s down the hill and just let it hang out into the canyon. There’s some high speed road crossings and the teams are really going to have to fight on the suspensions.”
Image courtesy of Extreme E