X44 tops Ocean X-Prix qualifying with rapid Q2 run

Gutierrez and Loeb end perfect Saturday as three big teams fail to make semi-finals

Cristina Gutierrez (ESP)/Sebastien Loeb (FRA), X44

Team X44 consolidated its top qualifying performance by once again heading the times for Extreme E’s Ocean X-Prix in Q2.

Cristina Gutiérrez and Sébastien Loeb set a 10m57.567s in Q2, the only sub-11m performance in the session as track evolution generally led to slower times in the afternoon.

The team’s run was 10.1 seconds quicker than Abt Cupra, which continued its impressive performance with last-minute substitute Jutta Kleinschmidt. After going fourth fastest in Q1, dropped from third as a result of a post-session penalty, the top-two run in Q2 helped the team back to third overall for the day.

Rosberg X Racing came third in Q2 and ended the day second overall. During the second run there was a wild moment for Molly Taylor just after the 10th gate on the lap. After a particularly aggressive landing, she was briefly pitched sideways although she was able to collect it and continue. The incident, while dramatic, ultimately only cost her in the region of two seconds.

Molly Taylor (AUS)/Johan Kristoffersson (SWE), Rosberg X Racing

JBXE ended both the session and qualifying overall in fourth, while Veloce Racing ensured it made it through to the semi-finals in its first true XE outing by coming fifth.

Xite Energy Racing claimed the final transfer spot, despite only managing to be eighth fastest in Q2. The woes of several faster teams played into its favor, allowing it to advance for a shot at a spot in the four-car final on Sunday.

For three of the series’ fastest and most talked about teams, Senegal proved to be a bruising experience.

Chip Ganassi Racing looked on course to snatch pole from X44 but were halted by an electrical gremlin.

Beginning the team’s run, Kyle LeDuc was instantly faster than X44 starter Gutiérrez and held an advantage of 6.3s when the car stopped in the woods section of the course.

After getting out of the car to assess the situation, LeDuc was able to get the car going once again, albeit at the expense of almost four minutes.

Sara Price (USA)/Kyle Leduc (USA), Segi TV Chip Ganassi Racing

He finished his lap and handed over to Sara Price who, besides a trip as she ran into the driver change area, enjoyed a trouble-free lap of her own.

The lengthy stop for Ganassi cost the team a vital top-six spot, with its combined qualifying time from the two sessions only good enough for seventh overall, despite the rapid pace shown in both sessions prior to the problems.

It was a similar story for Andretti United which was fifth in Q2 but eighth overall, its full time severely hampered by its own temporary halt in Q1.

Another quick team missing out was Acciona Sainz. While its Q2 run was good enough for sixth in the session, the team’s failure to complete Q1 meant that it ended the day last of the nine teams.

The Q1-ending issue was determined to have been caused by the failure of the car’s water pump in the cooling system, which was repaired for Q2, although it was afforded extra repair time by being moved to the last of the runners rather than its predetermined second in-line starting spot.

Catie Munnings (GBR)/Timmy Hansen (SWE), Andretti United Extreme E

Ganassi, Andretti United, and Acciona Sainz will still race on Sunday, albeit in the ‘Shoot Out’ for seventh to ninth place, with no chance of advancing to the final for the overall event win.

By virtue of their top-three finishing positions today, X44, RXR, and Abt Cupra will contest the first semi-final, with JBXE, Veloce, and Xite Energy in the second. The top two teams from each of those races will advance to the four-car final.

Q2 results

1 Cristina Gutiérrez/Sébastien Loeb (X44) 10m57.567s
2 Jutta Kleinschmidt/Mattias Ekström (Abt Cupra) +10.124s
3 Molly Taylor/Johan Kristoffersson (RXR) +12.561s
4 Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky/Kevin Hansen (JBXE) +14.454s
5 Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen (Andretti United) +19.836s
6 Laia Sanz/Carlos Sainz (Acciona Sainz) +25.564s
7 Stéphane Sarrazin/Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing) +30.204s
8 Christine Giampaoli Zonca/Oliver Bennett (Xite Energy) +46.088s
9 Kyle LeDuc/Sara Price (Chip Ganassi) +3m52.720s

Classification after Q2

1 Gutiérrez/Loeb (X44) 21m44.856s
2 Taylor/Kristoffersson (RXR) +27.58s
3 Kleinschmidt/Ekström (Abt Cupra) +35.95s
4 Åhlin-Kottulinsky/K Hansen (JBXE) +40.57s
5 Sarrazin/Chadwick (Veloce Racing) +1m20.51s
6 GZ/Bennett (Xite Energy) +1m51.60s
7 LeDuc/Price (Chip Ganassi) +3m56.95s
8 Munnings/T Hansen (Andretti United) +4m12.21s
9 Sanz/Sainz (Acciona Sainz) +1 lap