Veloce Racing and Rosberg X Racing win Q1 Heats in Desert X Prix Round 2

Veloce Racing and Rosberg X Racing win Q1 Heats in Desert X Prix Round 2

12.03.2023: Veloce Racing and Rosberg X Racing (RXR) secured a strong start to Round 2 in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, with wins in their respective Qualifying 1 Heats Katie Munnings (GBR) / Timmy Hansen (SWE), Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E, leads Cristina Gutierre

Veloce Racing and Rosberg X Racing (RXR) secured a strong start to Round 2 in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, with wins in their respective Qualifying 1 Heats

Katie Munnings (GBR) / Timmy Hansen (SWE), Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E, leads Cristina Gutierrez (ESP) / Fraser McConnell (JAM), X44 Vida Carbon Racing, and Molly Taylor (AUS) / Kevin Hansen (SWE), Veloce Racing, at the start during the Desert X-Prix on March 12, 2023. (Photo by Charly Lopez / LAT Images)

Having both made the Final in Round 1 of the Desert X Prix, with Veloce Racing taking their maiden victory in the series, the two teams continued their impressive form in an action-packed Q1.

Qualifying 1 - Heat 1

As the five teams charged towards the opening corner, it was the Hansen brothers who made the best start. Timmy chose the inside line for Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E as Kevin charged around the outside for Round 1 victors Veloce Racing.

As Veloce Racing slotted into second, X44 Vida Carbon Racing’s Fraser McConnell was close behind in third, followed by Timo Scheider in fourth for Carl Cox Motorsport.

ABT CUPRA XE dropped to the back of the pack at the start, with the team set to serve a 30-second penalty in the Switch Zone for using the championship car, following damage to the chassis of their own ODYSSEY 21 when Nasser Al-Attiyah rolled in Round 1’s Redemption Race.

They made the most of their situation, however, hanging back to take on the Continental Traction Challenge with clear air ahead of them. This bold strategy paid off as the team went fastest through the sector, which could prove crucial if they tie on points with another outfit in Round 2’s overall Qualifying.

Up ahead the front four remained tightly packed, as Veloce Racing’s Hansen put pressure on his brother for first and Carl Cox Motorsport’s Scheider attacked X44 Vida Carbon Racing’s McConnell for third.

The teams approached the driver change in these pairs, but problems for Carl Cox Motorsport in the Switch Zone saw Christine GZ stuck in her bay as the team suffered another Qualifying DNF.

Exiting the Switch Zone, Veloce Racing’s Molly Taylor set her sights on Catie Munnings in the Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E ODYSSEY 21. The Australian refused to play it safe, pushing Munnings from the very start of their two-lap stint.

Behind them X44 Vida Carbon Racing’s Cristina Gutiérrez closed the gap as the drama continued to build, with Taylor’s bonnet flying clean off as she attempted an overtake. Taylor made use of her ENOWA Hyperdrive to complete the pass on Munnings and claim the lead for Veloce Racing on the shoreline straight.

Gutiérrez held on to her ENOWA Hyperdrive until late on, timing it perfectly as she stole second place for X44 Vida Carbon Racing as the teams approached the finish line. Munnings tried to recover but ran out of course, thus finishing third just 0.293 seconds behind Gutiérrez, with ABT CUPRA XE’s Al-Attiyah bringing the car home safely in fourth.

Veloce Racing and Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E had initially received penalties for speeding in the Switch Zone giving X44 Vida Carbon Racing the win however, following a review, these were rescinded ensuring the on-course finishing positions were retained.

Qualifying 1 - Heat 2

After an initial false start the Heat got going at the second attempt, with RXR’s Johan Kristoffersson sandwiched between the JBXE and ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team cars as the teams approached the first corner.

NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team’s Tanner Foust pushed for the lead as he charged up the inside line, but despite being squeezed Kristoffersson timed his ENOWA Hyperdrive perfectly to surge to the front as No.99 GMC HUMMER EV’s RJ Anderson picked up the fight for second with Foust.

Mattias Ekström was close behind for ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, and gained a position as Foust tussled with Anderson, the former dropping to fourth in the melee for the NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team.

All five teams remained congested, but only JBXE’s Heikki Kovalainen had held onto his ENOWA Hyperdrive, which the Finn used to take fourth place from Foust as the front three pulled away.

Anderson tried new lines as he tried take the lead for No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing, but RXR’s Kristoffersson shut the door repeatedly as the teams approached the Switch Zone.

Laia Sanz and Amanda Sorensen were side by side as they exited their bays, but Sanz soon slotted into third for ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team behind the No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing car.

A nail-biting two laps ensued, with the frontrunners close together as they approached the end of the race.

As Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky crossed the line in first for RXR, Sanz attempted to steal second with her ENOWA Hyperdrive. The Spaniard fell 0.619 seconds short of pulling off the overtake, placing ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team third behind No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing’s Sorensen.

NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team came fourth, despite a penalty for speeding in the Switch Zone, after Emma Gilmour managed to get round JBXE’s Hedda Hösas who finished a close fifth.

With Qualifying 2, the Redemption Race and the Grand Final all still to come today, find out where you can watch the action here.

Qualifying 1 Results:

Heat 1:

1. Veloce Racing 11:25.061
2. X44 Vida Carbon Racing +2.777
3. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E +3.070
5. Carl Cox Motorsport DNF

Heat 2:

1. Rosberg X Racing 11:27.999
2. No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing +0.996
3. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team +1.615
4. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team +12.047 (PENALISED)
5. JBXE +12.342

Overall Qualifying 1 Standings:

1. Rosberg X Racing: 10 points
2. Veloce Racing: 10 points
3. No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing: 8 points
4. X44 Vida Carbon Racing: 8 points
5. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 6 points
6. Andretti Altawkilat Extreme E: 6 points
7. ABT CUPRA XE: 4 points
8. NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team: 4 points
9. JBXE: 2 points
10. Carl Cox Motorsport: 0 points

Extreme E, photos Charly Lopez


12.03.2023 / MaP

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