Exciting Semi-Finals in Extreme E
Exetreme E's Semi Finals were action packed and the electric SUVs could finally battle out on the course: Molly Taylor (Rosberg Racing) & Cristina Gutiérrez (X44) were throught after bad luck for Jutta Kleinschmidt (ABT), while a dominant Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky (JBXE) took victory in Semi Final 2. Jamie Chadwick (Veloce) & Christine GZ (XITE ENERGY RACING) battled for the final spot in the Final.
The first semi final on Sunday morning was the first shoot-out among the three fastest teams on Saturday´s qualifying session: X44's Cristina Gutiérrez/Sebastién Loeb, Rosberg X Racing's drivers Molly Taylor/Johan Kristoffersson and ABT Cupra XE, lining up reserve driver Jutta Kleinschmidt and Mattias Ekström.
Ekström had a blistering start and was the first to turn right at the first corner at the end of the long straight along the ocean coast. Kristofferson had some problems to follow, but was soon alongside Loeb and squeezed his car past with light contact. All three teams reamined incredibly close but held positions until the switch zone.
Ekström handed his car over to Jutta Kleinschmidt, but the some problems for the German Dakar legend prevented her to restart her car and rejoin ahead of the pack. Kleinschmidt lost 5 seconds to Molly Taylor, who was ne the leader of the race after the switch, ahead of Cristina Gutierrez.
Jutta worked hard to catch up and chose different lines, trying to desperately making up for the lost time. Despite looking the fastest of the trio, she caught up with the two front-runners in the final sector, but couldn't ultimately make up positions.
Taylor won with a 2,26 second advantage for Rosberg X Racing, ahead of Cristina Gutierrez for X44; both teams we will get a spot on the final later today.
The second Semi Final saw Jenson Button's JBXE team lining up Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky and Kevin Hansen, Veloce Racing with Jamie Chadwick/Sephane Sarrazin and Xite Energy Racing with Christine Giampaoli Zonca/Oliver Bennett. They would battle out on the course for the last two spots in the final.
Kevin Hansen started like a rocket and pulled away as fast as he could. Behind him, a close battle between Jamie Chadwick and Oliver Bennett unfolded. Jamie held a small margin in front at the first corner, but Bennett tried to fit his car next to the Veloce Odyssey21. The Brit defended well and held on to second.
Jamie struggled on her lap, but kept Bennett at bay. As they fought hard, JBXE's Hansen extended his gap to over 15 seconds. Bennett gave it his all: he tried different lines and closed in. Just before the switch zone, the XITE Energy Racing driver found a way past Chadwick, who remained nevertheless at striking distance.
Mikalea Åhlin-Kottulinsky went out on her lap with over 22 seconds of advantage from second placed Christine GZ. The Swede had a great run and drove safely to the chequered flag. But behind her, the battle for second was on fire: Sarrazin shortened the gap to Christine GZ and tried to find the best spot to overtake. Despite the sand dust, the slower track surely made things easier for the drivers compared to the first round, who could follow closely their competitors. With the held of some contact, Sarrazin passed Giampaoli Zonca for second and thus secured the last spot in the final. When it seemed all over, Sarrazin slowed down - he made himself as wide as possible and was able to hang on until the finish line.
The shootout valid for points will start later this evening and will see SEGI TV Chip Ganassi Racing with Sara Price/Kyle LeDuc, Andretti United XE with Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen and Acciona | Sainz XE Team with Laia Sanz/Carlos Sainz, who were bottom of the classify after yesterday's qualifying.
The final will start at 4pm CEST.