Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team topped qualifying for Extreme E’s inaugural Desert X-Prix after a raft of penalties led to a shuffling of the order in Q2.
Just like in Q1, Rosberg X Racing’s Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor were the fastest driver pairing on the road, setting a two-lap combined time of 11 minutes and 3.258 seconds – 4.673s quicker that the time of X44’s Cristina Gutiérrez and Sébastien Loeb.
However a 60s penalty was handed to RXR after its car exceeded the change zone’s 30kph speed limit by 12kph, and it relegated them to second for the session and third in qualifying overall.
Second place in the overall qualifying standings consequently went to Acciona Sainz’s Laia Sanz and Carlos Sainz who consolidated their position with a conservative run in Q2.
Andretti United’s Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen locked in fourth overall with the third-fastest time in Q2 set in a drama-free run, a stark contrast to the puncture-blighted lap Munnings endured in Q1.
The Anglo-American squad’s combined two-lap time in Q2 was a mere two hundredths of a second quicker than that of JBXE, but the Jenson Button-led team tumbled down the order after being hit with two penalties for change zone infringements.
After the speed limiter didn’t activate for Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky at the end of her lap, Button then left the driver swap area too soon. The end result was a cumulative penalty totalling 175.5 seconds.
That dropped them to sixth both overall and in the session. Hispano Suiza’s Oliver Bennett and Christine Giampaoli Zonca took fifth after a smooth session in Q2. having been dealt a penalty of their own in Q1.
With Veloce Racing withdrawing from the event and Abt Cupra missing Q2 as a result of crash damage from the previous session, and Chip Ganassi Racing’s power steering issues also preventing the American team from taking to the course, it means every Q2 runner will advance tomorrow as part of the top six.
X44, Acciona Sainz, and RXR will head directly to the semi-final with the top two from that race qualifying for the final. Andretti United, Hispano Suiza, and JBXE – saved by the woes of the remaining three teams despite its massive penalty – will compete in the ‘Crazy Race’ with the winner of that joining the top-two semi-finalists in the main event.
Usually the seventh, eighth, and ninth-placed qualifiers would take part in a shootout to determine the final three finishing positions of the event, but with Veloce’s withdrawal, and the lingering doubts over Abt Cupra and Chip Ganassi Racing’s continuing participation this weekend, it is currently unknown whether that race will go ahead.
1 Cristina Gutiérrez/Sébastien Loeb (X44) 11m07.931s
2 Laia Sanz/Carlos Sainz (Acciona Sainz) +12.933s
3 Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen (Andretti United) +25.000s
4 Christine Giampaoli Zonca/Oliver Bennett (Hispano Suiza) +53.763s
5 Molly Taylor/Johan Kristoffersson (Rosberg X Racing) +55.327s
6 Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky/Jenson Button (JBXE) +3m20.521s
DNS Sara Price/Kyle LeDuc (Chip Ganassi Racing)
DNS Mattias Ekström/Claudia Hürtgen (Abt Cupra)
Classification after Q2
1 X44 21m55.998s
2 Acciona Sainz +41.097s
3 Rosberg X Racing +50.825s
4 Andretti United +1m08.536s
6 Hispano Suiza +3m14.734s
5 JBXE +4m54.880s
7 Chip Ganassi Racing +2 laps
8 Abt Cupra +3 laps
WD Stéphane Sarrazin/Jamie Chadwick (Veloce Racing)