Veloce and Abt crash out of Extreme E qualifying

Stephane Sarrazin and Claudia Hürtgen tested the strength of the Odyssey 21 with rolls in the first competitive session

Jamie Chadwick (GBR)/Stephane Sarrazin (FRA), Veloce Racing

Extreme E qualifying has already been stopped by two spectacular crashes for Veloce Racing’s Stephane Sarrazin and Abt Cupra driver Claudia Hürtgen.

Abt’s German driver lost the rear of the Odyssey 21 in a fast right, the car dug in and rolled. Veloce rival Stéphane Sarrazin rolled his car earlier in the session. While Sarrazin’s car landed on its wheels and the Frenchman was able to extricate himself, Hürtgen’s car was on its roof and she needed to be helped from the all-electric SUV.

Neither driver was injured, but both cars have been substantially damaged and will require a battery change as stipulated by the regulations if an accident involves an inversion.

Abt Cupra’s technical director Florian Modlinger said: “This is the best piece of footage of the weekend to see her out of the car. It looks like she is OK which is the most important thing.

“It was a big accident and it took a while to see her [out of the car]. Now we need to see what happened.”


Photo: DirtFish Media

Sarrazin told DirtFish he was optimistic the car could be fixed in time for the second qualifying session this afternoon.

“The car looks OK in the chassis and all the mechanical stuff,” he said. “It’s just the battery I think we need to change because the rules say you need to change it.

“It’s part of the game, unfortunately. I was pushing, and I lost my car on a quite narrow area. I lost the rear in both ways, so the rear took the big sand and trees… a shrub, and it was a big one.

“It was a big crash. The car’s strong, the car is really strong. I was on my pace. I wasn’t too fast at this point, because otherwise I didn’t took the right line. For us shakedown was difficult with a power steering problem, this time the steering was much lighter. I need to learn my car and [it’s important] to get out this afternoon to make sure Jamie [Chadwick] gets a run.”

Hürtgen’s car is thought unlikely to be fixed in time for Q2, which would mean she and team-mate Mattias Ekström would move directly to the shootout which will decide positions seven, eight and nine – and that’s if the car can be sorted tomorrow.

A rival team member told DirtFish: “Claudia’s looked like a big one. It’s so tough when these cars dig in in the soft sand and once you start to go, there’s a lot of weight in them. That’s a big crash.”