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RXR top chaotic Copper X-Prix quali

Rosberg X Racing leads the way after a dramatic qualifying day for the Copper X-Prix.

The championship leaders topped the time trial session, but were caught up in a dramatic qualifying race which was won by Andretti.

The Acciona Sainz squad won the second qualifying race and will join Andretti and RXR in the first Semi Final.

Race 1

It was a problem free time trial session for RXR, who ended Q1 5.599s clear of the rest of the field. The same could not be said for Andretti. A power steering problem became apparent during Catie Munning’s run, and a penalty for speeding in the switch zone only added to the team’s problems.

The two teams were joined by Chip Ganassi Racing, Xite Energy and Veloce in the first qualifying race.

Timo Scheider, in the Xite car managed to take the lead heading into turn one, with Veloce and RXR close behind. However, the three leaders went the wrong way past one of the check points, causing them to not only fall behind Andretti and CGR but to each earn five second penalties.

Veloce then made contact with the CGR car, damaging both cars and leaving Veloce stranded on the circuit.

Andretti were now comfortably ahead of the rest of the field and would not be reeled in during the second half of the race.

Xite led RXR out of the switch zone, but Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky wasted no time closing in on the Xite car. As they battled for position, contact was made and the Xite was too damaged to continue.

Ahlin-Kottulinsky brought the car home more than 20 seconds behind Munnings in the Andretti. Meanwhile, damage sustained in the earlier contact had left the CGR car with a damaged right rear. A lengthy pit stop to repair a puncture didn’t fix the issue, but Katie Price managed to bring the car home in P3.

Race 2

The second qualifying race was much tamer. X44, who were second quickest in Q1, were joined by McLaren, Abt, JBXE and Sainz. The Sainz team had had a difficult Q1. It was a slow stop for the squad before Carlos Sainz, in the car second, engaged the car while a technician was still in the bay, earning a 15 second penalty. JBXE also had a lengthy stop, having to fix a broken front drive shaft.

Sainz took the race lead off the line, with the X44 car close behind. Sebastien Loeb, behind the wheel of the X44, brought the fight to Sainz and the pair went side by side as they passed a gate. Loeb knocked down one of the flags marking the gate but managed to take the position.

X44 spent the remainder of the race ahead of the Sainz car, though Laia Sanz kept the pressure on Christina Gutierrez during the second half of the race. They took the chequered flag clear of the Spanish squad, but a penalty for taking out the flag dropped the X44 team to P2.

ABT took third ahead of JBXE and McLaren.

Andretti, Sainz, and RXR will start the Sunday of the Copper X-Prix in Semi Final 1. ABT, X44 and CGR will take part in Semi Final 2. JBXE, Xite, Veloce and McLaren will compete in the Crazy Race.

Image courtesy of Extreme E

Bethonie Waring

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