Back for its second season, Extreme E returned to Saudi Arabia for the Desert X Prix this weekend, held in a new location of NEOM in the northwest of the country.
Andretti United Extreme E keep championship title alive after finishing sixth in Sardinia
Despite a difficult weekend for Andretti United Extreme E’s Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen at the Island X Prix – round four of Extreme E – the Anglo-American team have successfully kept the championship title alive after finishing sixth in Sardinia.
Driving their electric SUV [the ODYSSEY 21], Catie and Timmy were placed sixth after Saturday’s qualifying sessions. In Q1, Timmy lost power steering just 100m after the start but put in a heroic drive to complete the lap despite suffering from a dislocated shoulder. Timmy handed over to Catie, who went on to bring the car safely home after a solid drive and some good sector times.
Catie and Timmy were back fighting for Q2 where they posted the fourth quickest time seeing the team finish P6 at the end of Saturday. This saw both drivers placed into semi-final one where they lined up alongside Team X44 and Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing.
The semis did not go to plan, however, as Timmy took to the wheel of the Odyssey 21 for the opening lap. The Swedish driver got off to a rapid start but the Ganassi car driven by Sara Price made contact with the Andretti United machine moments later, which resulted in Timmy unable to control the car which then hit the rear of the Team X44 vehicle driven by Cristina Guttierez. The incident saw both Cristina and Timmy out of the race with broken cars, eventually leading to a stewards’ enquiry.
The decision from the stewards saw Andretti United Extreme E place last in the race after what was deemed as “driver collision which forced the No. 44 car off the course”, putting a premature end to the team’s weekend and seeing the crew finish in P6.
Andretti United Extreme E then helped Team X44 rebuild their car after the damage incurred during the semi-final, showcasing some of the fantastic sportsmanship between the different Extreme E teams competing this season.
Following the team’s sixth place this weekend, Andretti United Extreme E remain third in the overall standings – 20 points adrift of X44 in second and 26 behind championship leaders Rosberg X Racing who leave Sardinia with 129 points. With a total of 42 points available at each race weekend, there’s still a chance for Andretti United to win this year’s championship.
Next in the Extreme E calendar is the championship’s Jurassic X Prix which will be staged in Dorset in the UK from 18 – 19 December.
Catie Munnings commented: “Obviously it’s been a disappointing weekend for me and Timmy as today just didn’t go our way but this can often happen in motorsport – it’s full of highs and lows. Looking at the positives, we showed some really good pace – especially in quali yesterday afternoon and I had a good feeling with the car. It was a shame not to get a chance to drive today but we still leave Sardinia with a good haul of points and although the top two teams are a bit further ahead of us now, we’ve certainly learned that in Extreme E anything can happen. We’ll regroup ahead of Dorset and will be back stronger, I’m determined to put on a good show for our home race next time out!”
Timmy Hansen commented: “It’s not the weekend we hoped for but sometimes that happens in racing. In the semi, I was on the right going left and Sara was on the left going right. I had the better start, I was going to try and take the lead but Sara hit my rear which brought me into the back of X44 which then unfortunately put them out of the race. I didn’t mean for any of that happen and I’m sure Sara didn’t either – it was just an unfortunate course of events. I definitely did not intend to hit Cristina in the X44 car and I felt sorry for them that this happened - we gave them our votes in GridPlay and our mechanics helped them to get their car ready for the final. We will put behind us what happened today and will be fully focused for the final race of the season.”
Roger Griffiths, Andretti United Extreme E Team Principal commented: “Naturally we are disappointed with how today worked out and the outcome from the semis. We went in there with a plan to get out in front - Timmy had a really good start and got ahead of Sara but unfortunately there was contact between the two cars and from that point onwards, Timmy was a passenger. It was unfortunate that he ran into the back of Cristina in the X44 car but there was certainly no intention to hit her. We spent a lot of time speaking to the stewards but in the end they made their decision which we respect. Sometimes this happens in racing but we move on and fight for another day.”