Jutta Kleinschmidt will miss the remainder of the Copper X-Prix after sustaining a back injury in second practice, her place at Abt Cupra being taken by Extreme E championship reserve driver Klara Andersson.
Abt Cupra was the second team to take to the track in FP2, and Kleinschmidt was instantly setting a good pace, with a first sector time that remained quickest for much of the session.
HUGE impact for Kleinschmidt in Free Practice 💥
Jutta was attended to on scene and was able to get out of the car herself. As a precautionary measure she was taken to Calama hospital by air for further assessment. Jutta is conscious and in good spirits.#ExtremeE #CopperXPrix pic.twitter.com/kxOe2ssKhc
— Extreme E (@ExtremeELive) September 23, 2022
However, a heavy landing from a jump towards the end of the lap left the team’s Odyssey 21 with extensive bodywork damage. Kleinschmidt meanwhile was able to exit the car under her own power, albeit clutching her back.
The Dakar veteran was initially taken to a local hospital via air for what was initially described as precautionary checks, but she ended up remaining there overnight.
“After her accident in Free Practice 2 Jutta stayed in hospital overnight for further observation,” said an Abt Cupra statement. “The entire Abt Cupra XE team is in close contact with Jutta and wishes her the very best.”
For Andersson, her promotion to a race seat for the remainder of the weekend comes after she scored her maiden podium – and first for a female driver – in World Rallycross in Portugal last weekend.
“Competing for ABT Cupra this weekend came as an unexpected Friday night surprise to me,” said Andersson. “While I wish Jutta all the best and a speedy recovery, I am excited to be racing in Extreme E now.
“Nasser [Al-Attiyah] and the team gave me a very warm welcome and a quick course of the car, the regulations and all the procedures. Going straight into qualifying is of course a tough thing, but I enjoy this challenge and will do my very best to make it a good one for all of us.”
On Saturday morning, Andersson completed a brief shakedown in the Abt Cupra car away from the race course, before running two low-speed laps on-track in the championship’s development car to familiarize herself with the circuit.
It is the second time this season a mid-weekend driver change has taken place due to driver injury. Hedda Hosås jumped into the Veloce lineup mid-weekend at the season opener in Saudi Arabia, after a high-speed crash during qualifying sidelined Christine GZ.
Kleinschmidt also made her Extreme E debut in similar circumstances, replacing Claudia Hürtgen at the 2021 Ocean X-Prix in Senegal.
Hürtgen withdrew after free practice with a virus and, after impressing on her stand-in debut, Kleinschmidt was given the Abt Cupra seat permanently thereafter.
Acciona Sainz’s Carlos Sainz and Laia Sanz topped both practice sessions on the opening day of the Copper X Prix, heading Rosberg X Racing’s Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky by 0.179s in the first session, and Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings by 5.738s in the afternoon.