DESERT X PRIX RACE REPORT 

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.

NEOM was chosen as a location by Extreme E, not only for its picturesque desert landscape and its shared values of sustainability and innovation, but also because the championship aims to highlight the causes of desertification, the loss of biological diversity and the importance of resilience because of the impacts of climate change.

Season 2 featured a new racing format, including the pressure of one single-car race and a five-car race for the qualifying stages.

The weekend started positively for Genesys Andretti United Extreme E as the team racked up 18 intermediate qualifying points after its drivers Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen won the second five-car quali session. At this stage, Hansen was leading the Continental Traction Challenge for his fastest time in Sector 3. This was later beaten by RXR in the final but remained third quickest at the end of the weekend.

 The semi-final put Genesys Andretti United up against two other teams with Catie starting first and handing the all-electric Odyssey 21 SUV over to Timmy at the Switch Zone with the team just behind the Acciona Sainz car. 

Timmy started strong and was in close pursuit of the Acciona Sainz XE team with Carlos Sainz at the wheel, but unfortunately Timmy hit a rut on the course causing the car to roll and ending his challenge and the teams hopes of a place in the final.

The incident marked an unfortunate end to the weekend with the team leaving the first race of the season in seventh position in the overall standings.

Next in the five-round Extreme E calendar is the Island X Prix, Sardinia (7/8 May).

Catie Munnings, Genesys Andretti United Extreme E: "Obviously it was a disappointing end to our weekend. We worked really hard as a team and we had great pace so looking ahead, that's really promising for the season. Of course, we have to focus on the positives - it's a long year ahead. Ultiamtely this is motorsport and sometimes days like today can happen. Hopefully we can really analyse exactly what happened and avoid this in the future. We especially need to look at the start as I think this area will be really critical in the races from now on. The team have been fantastic, they've worked really hard all weekend and we can be happy with how we've developed. Now we can look forward to Sardinia and hopefully get some redemeption there."

Timmy Hansen, Genesys Andretti United Extreme E: “Today didn’t go the way we had planned. It feels tough to take as everything went so smoothly yesterday and it was undoubtedly our best qualifying session we’ve had with absolutely no issues. I had a lot of confidence going into today but sometimes this is racing and you have to take the highs with the lows. I knew I had to push in my lap to get ahead of Carlos [Sainz] but then the car hit a rut when I was closing on him and it flipped so it was all over from there. Thankfully I’m okay after the incident and we can certainly take a lot of positives from this weekend including our pace in the car. The season is long and we’ll come back stronger for Sardinia.”

Roger Griffiths, Team Principal, Genesys Andretti United Extreme E: "After a successful debut race in Saudi last season, we came to NEOM with high hopes of repeating that with the new-look Genesys Andretti United Extreme E. Unfortunately it wasn't meant to be. We had a really positive day on Saturday with the single car qualifying and the five-car quali race where we finished second overall. We felt really buoyed going into today but unfortunately it didn't go our way in the semi-final. A good solid drive from Catie kept us in contention going into the Switch Zone but Timmy hit a bump in the course which kicked the car and ultimately onto its roof. It was a heavy impact but we're fortunate that the strength of the Odyssey 21 kept Timmy safe apart from being a little shaken up. We look forward to the next round in a couple of months' time."