No fewer than four Extreme E drivers will have switched roles when the season resumes in Sardinia next week.
Tamara Molinaro, who began the year as the all-electric off-road series’ official reserve, will remain with XITE Energy Racing for the remainder of the year after impressing on her debut as a last-minute stand-in at the Saudi Arabia round back in February.
Her appearance at the Neom event came after the team’s announced driver Klara Andersson was sidelined with a positive COVID-19 test. With Molinaro remaining in the race seat, Andersson will assume Molinaro’s role as the series’ female reserve driver.
“I am very happy to be back in Extreme E for Sardinia and it is even more special as it is my home event,” said Molinaro. “It will be a bigger challenge compared to the opening round in Saudi Arabia as that was a new track for everybody – the other guys have experience from last year, but we are going to give it our all and see how it goes!
In a similar move, Timo Scheider will step up from the substitutes’ bench to replace Oliver Bennett at XITE, Bennett choosing instead to focus on his ongoing Nitro Rallycross Group E campaign.
Scheider, a two-time DTM champion and World Rallycross podium finisher, has been a part of Extreme E since the early days of the series, both as a nominated reserve and as part of the track design team.
“It is a special moment to be joining the series as a race driver alongside Tamara,” said Scheider.
“I was supposed to be doing the course test with the usual ‘test’ car as a Championship driver when I got to Italy, but now I will be traveling to Sardinia as a race driver with XITE Energy Racing! That is a great feeling.
“I am super-pumped to get out there and show what we are capable of – Tamara and I fit quite well together in terms of performance and I think we will put on a good show in Sardinia.”
His place as an official reserve will be taken by Nitro Rallycross star Fraser McConnell, who is a newcomer to Extreme E.
The series has been on an extended break since its Saudi Arabia season opener in February, with the second round of the season being hosted on a military base on the Italian island that was subsequently needed for the Ukraine war effort earlier this year.