Extreme E: Watch Desert X Prix qualifying live
Extreme E begins life as a new motorsport series today with qualifying for Sunday’s Desert X Prix. Nine teams of two drivers each take to the sands of AlUla, Saudi Arabia – a stunning untouched landscape of giant sandstone rocks creating a spectacular backdrop for racing – in the first of five races around the globe. Each team has the same ODYSSEY 21 car, an electric SUV which goes from 0-60mph in less than 4.5secs.
Jenson Button is driving for his own JBXE team, while there are other teams owned by Lewis Hamilton (X44) and Nico Rosberg (Rosberg X Racing). Other drivers include rally legends Sebastien Loeb and Carlos Sainz, and rising British talents Catie Munnings and Jamie Chadwick.
Each team has one male and one female driver in what organisers intend to be a groundbreaking gender-equal series. The drivers take on one lap each of the 9km course, with a ‘switch’ in between, and their cumulative time will decide which of Sunday morning’s three races they enter, before the final later the same day. Follow all the latest action below.
Massive grab for the lead after any other team had failed to even get within 20 seconds of Hamilton’s Loeb and Gutierrez, Nico Rosberg’s drivers have managed to smash their time by more than four seconds The order as it’s shaking out
Rosberg Extreme Racing (Johan Kristofferson and Molly Taylor) 10:43.565
X44 (Sebastien Loeb and Christina Gutierrez) 10:48.067
Acciona Sainz (Carlos Sainz Snr/Laia Sanz 11:16.231
JBXE (Jenson Button/Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky) 12:22.426
Hazel Southwell3 April 2021 08:16
Back to an old rivalry Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team set an unbelievable time on their run but former rival Nico Rosberg’s team are setting new routes – Molly Taylor took an incredibly bold line over a dune that looked like a mistake but gave her plenty of time and could well be coming to rival their time.
Hazel Southwell3 April 2021 08:10
No guidance When the Extreme E format was come up with, the original idea was that drivers would guide each other through the stages. That’s hard enough – just look at a rally car throwing itself through the air to get an idea – but with the time trial format the only way they can communicate with each other is at the 45-second changeover between drivers,
Molly Taylor is currently taking Rosberg Extreme Racing to, well, Hamilton’s X44.
Hazel Southwell3 April 2021 08:07
All up and down
These cars are incredibly powerful; for an 18km (11.1 miles) stage including such violent changes in height, the cars are struggling and so are the teams. Both their drivers have to share a cockpit, no matter the scale of their height difference. Some teams are pushing a foot…
Hazel Southwell3 April 2021 08:04
Huge battle for the top going on here seven-time F1 world champion Lewis Hamilton’s team X44 currently tops the times but two-time world rally champion and multiple Dakar winner Carlos Sainz (Senior, father of the current F1 driver) is able to take a VERY convincing second, 28 seconds behind the time set by Sebastien Loeb and Christina Guettierez for Hamilton’s team.
Hazel Southwell3 April 2021 07:59
If you’re working out what’s going on with Extreme E; this is an off road series so each car will drive the course, a bit like a rally car, without any others on track.
Carlos Sainz, two-time world rally champion (in the 90s! his son is an F1 driver) has just handed over to multiple-time Dakar finisher Laia Sanz, to head to the dunes. They’re an exceptionally formidable pairing in terms of experience, especially for this event.
Hazel Southwell3 April 2021 07:53
Disaster for the UK’s Veloce startup Although Veloce have been able to go from computer games to racing with mulitple international champions, their ultra-experienced driver Stephane Sarrazin has made a miscalculation that’s led to him whacking a rock and ending the stage before Jamie Chadwick can get her go.
Hazel Southwell3 April 2021 07:48
The order of qualifying was decided by drawing lots, and first up was Jenson Button’s JBXE team, but the car had mechanical problems when his teammate Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky got behind the wheel and a brief stoppage hurt their time and they are fourth in the standings from five teams. Fifth place is Britain’s Jamie Chadwick and Stephane Sarrazin (Veloce) after the latter rolled the car coming down the other side of a huge drop, but walked away safely.
Rally legend Sebastien Loeb and his Spanish teammate Cristina Gutierrez (racing for Lewis Hamilton’s X44) are leading the way with a time of 10.48.076 – the only team to go under 11 minutes so far. Laia Sanz and Carlos Sainz (Acciona) are second, Britain’s Catie Munnings survived a late burst tyre to be third with teammate Timmy Hansen (Andretti).
Lawrence Ostlere3 April 2021 07:36
Qualifying is under way here in Saudi Arabia. Each team, made up of one man and one women, takes on one lap each of the 9km circuit through the desert with a seat ‘switch’ in between. There are two rounds of qualifying, and the two times are totalled to bag points and create the standings for tomorrow’s semi-finals.
Lawrence Ostlere3 April 2021 07:24
The series is comprised of five races, taking in extreme environments: the West African coast, the Arctic ice, the Amazon rainforest and the glaciers of Patagonia all follow, but first is the desert of AlUla, Saudi Arabia. Here’s our race preview for a little pre-qualifying reading to get up to speed:
Lawrence Ostlere3 April 2021 07:03