Hürtgen ruled out, Kleinschmidt in at Cupra

A stomach bug has forced Abt Cupra into a last-minute driver change

Jutta Kleinschmidt _1

Abt Curpa driver Claudia Hürtgen has been ruled out of the Ocean X-Prix through illness.

The veteran circuit racer took part in Friday’s shakedown and practice sessions but the team confirmed she would be sitting out for the remaineder of the weekend in a short statement posted on social media.

“We are super sad to announce that Claudia Hürtgen will not be able to compete for us at the Ocean X-Prix due to a heavy stomach bug,” Abt said. “While we wish her all the best we respectfully accept the offer of Extreme E to let spare driver Jutta Kleinschmidt join our team this weekend.”

Hürtgen’s absence means that for the first time, one of Extreme E’s official ‘joker’ reserve drivers will step in. Timo Scheider is the male representative.

Claudia Hurtgen (GER)/Mattias Ekstrom (SWE), ABT CUPRA XE

Hürtgen’s place will be taken by 58-year-old Jutta Kleinschmidt, who will be competing in Senegal 20 years on from her 2001 Paris Dakar Rally triumph.

Kleinschmidt however isn’t the only new name in the Extreme E field this weekend, with Kevin Hansen filling in for Jenson Button at JBXE, while permanent Veloce driver Jamie Chadwick finally made her series debut on Friday as well after missing out in Saudi Arabia as a result of team-mate Stephane Sarrazin’s qualifying crash.

Kleinschmidt’s call-up means that there are now no other female reserves on-site, with the series’ own spare driver being available on a first come, first served basis.

Should another female driver have to be replaced, teams cannot bring in a male driver to fill her place such as official male reserve Timo Scheider – it’s down to the teams to either bring a driver into the country, or forfeit their place in the event.

However, should Scheider be called up, there likely wouldn’t be the same issue with the likes of Jean-Eric Vergne, Daniel Abt, and Nico Rosberg all on-site, and as a result potentially available to fill-in if needed.

Veloce Racing is the only team with its own designated reserve drivers, although neither Emma Gilmour or Lance Woolridge are present in Senegal this weekend.