Island X-Prix: Hamilton's X44 team on course for pole after Q1

Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez put Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team on course to maintain its 100 per cent Extreme E qualifying record in the morning Island X-Prix session in Sardinia.

The nine-time World Rally champion and his Dakar Rally regular teammate were by some way the class of the field on Saturday morning at the Teulada NATO base as they bolted to the top of the times with their combined run of 11m05.105s to lead by over 12 seconds.

As occurred on Friday in practice, a high rate of attrition came to impact the nine teams.

The points-leading Rosberg X Racing crew suffered a roll while Andretti United racer Timmy Hansen endured his shoulder popping out three times as he battled a power steering fault.

In a very slow start to the first of the two qualifying runs, the opening three crews all suffered incidents, with both Xite Energy Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing retiring on track.

Three-time World Rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson was the first driver to take to the 4.37-mile course at the wheel of his RXR machine before handing over to Taylor.

But for the second event in a row, the Australian rally champion rolled before landing upright and being able to complete her run in spectacular fashion.

The Saudi Arabia and Senegal Extreme E event winner ran sideways over a crest and as the Odyssey 21 skidded off the clear racing line and into the deeper unused dirt, the wheels dug in and she flipped.

Taylor, whose slide had likely been initiated by hitting a stone that forced the steering wheel in her hands, was able to land on the wheels and continue with only rear bodywork damage.

She brought the entry home with a 11m37.557s benchmark before Chip Ganassi Racing’s run was ended after just the fourth of 28 gates on Sara Price’s lap by a suspension failure.

The American squad’s torrid fortunes continued when the rear of the car was unsettled over a series of crests and Price clipped a marker that was signposting a boulder.

Kyle Leduc, Chip Ganassi Racing

Kyle Leduc, Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo by: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport Images

Price caught the hidden rock to cause the left-rear corner to collapse and she retired on the spot to leave her teammate Kyle Leduc without a run.

Next on the course was Xite Energy Racing, which also had to abandon a flying run when Christine Giampaoli Zonca endured a steering break through her run.

The car’s set-up appeared wide of the mark as she and teammate Bennett were unsettled by bumps prior to the toe-link finally giving way and forcing the front-right wheel to bend in.

That preceded the X44 entry, which again did not pass without drama.

Spare-time orthodontist Gutierrez lost the rear and spun through the bushes in the tight ‘super sector’ section but was able to continue before handing over to a rapid Loeb.

Her 4m25.503s single lap was comfortably quickest to give the team an initial 32s advantage over RXR in an effort Loeb told Motorsport.com that he reckoned he would not be able to match.

The duo would remain on top when Andretti United’s Hansen hit a small bump very early into his lap to trigger the latest in a string of electrical power steering failures for the grid.

The extra forces exacerbated a pre-existing injury and his shoulder popped out three times before he entered the driver changeover zone to hand over to stablemate Catie Munnings.

Munnings reset the systems to resolve the issue for her trouble-free run to score seventh.

Two-time WRC champion and three-time Dakar Rally winner Carlos Sainz battled through flapping rear bodywork before passing the Acciona Sainz entry onto Laia Sanz to secure second place, as they combined for an 11m17.388s pass – 12.283s adrift of X44.

Kevin Hansen and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky guided Jenson Button’s JBXE car to fifth behind the third-fastest run of the Veloce Racing entry of Stephane Sarrazin and Emma Gilmour, the latter standing in for W Series racer Jamie Chadwick.

Last to run Abt Cupra’s newly crowned Pure ETCR champion and 2001 Dakar Rally winner Jutta Kleinschmidt clocked fourth fastest.

shares
comments
Extreme E reveals unforgiving Island X-Prix course through military base
Previous article

Extreme E reveals unforgiving Island X-Prix course through military base

Next article

X44 maintains perfect Extreme E qualifying record in Sardinia

X44 maintains perfect Extreme E qualifying record in Sardinia
Load comments
How XE's Arctic adventure gave a chilly reminder of the fixes to find Prime

How XE's Arctic adventure gave a chilly reminder of the fixes to find

Extreme E’s third round provided the very definition of extreme conditions in the Arctic Circle, and despite settling on a successful format and Andretti United taking a maiden win, there remains plenty of work to do with the spec cars that froze in action

Extreme E
Aug 30, 2021
Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved Prime

Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved

McLaren's announcement that it will enter the Extreme E series for electric SUVs next year came as something of a surprise. But it brings benefits that other championships it could seek to enter cannot, while providing a timely boost to a start-up that has had to cancel two of its South American rounds.

Extreme E
Jun 13, 2021
Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential Prime

Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential

Extreme E's second round on the sands of Senegal refined some the more clunky aspects of the series' debut event in Saudi Arabia. Even though its star-studded finale between Lewis Hamilton's X44 team and Rosberg X Racing proved anticlimactic, the pieces are in place for the series to only get better

Extreme E
Jun 1, 2021
How Extreme E exceeded expectations to pass its first major test Prime

How Extreme E exceeded expectations to pass its first major test

The racing may have lacked the explosive conclusion to Formula E's first race in 2014 and was not without its hiccups. But Extreme E's leap into the unknown appears to have paid off, delivering a spectacle quite unlike anything else

Extreme E
Apr 5, 2021
Extreme E: The team-by-team guide Prime

Extreme E: The team-by-team guide

The world’s newest motorsport discipline is set to go racing for the first time this weekend. Extreme E’s innovations and plans have raised some eyebrows, but it also provides an exciting list of competitors and teams for the inaugural campaign

Extreme E
Apr 2, 2021
How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport Prime

How Extreme E’s charging solution could transform motorsport

The new off-road SUV series aims to go boldly into the unknown on several fronts, but perhaps its most significant measure will involve the energy source powering its fleet of cars

Extreme E
Apr 1, 2021
How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure Prime

How XE's star power puts Formula E under pressure

With the addition of Jenson Button's own team to join the involvement of fellow Formula 1 champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg in Extreme E's ranks, the new electric SUV series is brimming with star power to enable it to deliver on its promise

Extreme E
Jan 29, 2021
Driving the electric beast behind XE’s off-road eco-crusade Prime

Driving the electric beast behind XE’s off-road eco-crusade

In October, Motorsport.com headed to the South of France to sample the Odyssey 21 - the titanic 550bhp machine underpinning Alejandro Agag's latest electric venture. But for such a big beast, it's a nimble machine that should provide spectacular entertainment…

Extreme E
Dec 10, 2020