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  • Writer's pictureVIVIEN STREBELOW

Rallycross star Klara Andersson to make Extreme E debut

At the eve of the second Desert X-Prix, XITE Energy Racing announced its new driver line up: Swedish rallycross star Klara Andersson is ready to make her Extreme E debut.

Photo credits: Extreme E

One week ahead of the first round of the 2022 Extreme E season - the second in its history - more teams are officially announcing their drivers line ups, after a few changes in the off-season. Surprisingly, inaugural champion Molly Taylor will not be returning to Rosberg X Racing, as the team will feature a new all-Swedish pairing: Johann Kristoffersson will race alongside compatriot Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, who had competed for JBXE in 2021.

Jutta Kleinschmidt will remain at ABT Cupra, but will partner another Dakar Legend, as Nasser Al-Attiyah makes his Extreme E debut. Significant changes also at Veloce Racing, where former reserve driver Lance Woolridge will work with a new teammate: Spaniard Christine Giampaoli Zonca, aka "GZ", formerly racing at XITE Energy Racing.

Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen are back at Andretti United, with also Team X44, Acciona Sainz and Chip Ganassi confirming their line-ups: championship runner-up duo Cristina Gutierrez and Sebastien Loeb will continue to race fo Lewis Hamilton's team, just like Carlos Sainz& Laia Sanz and Kyle LeDuc and Sara Price.

The new entry McLaren Extreme E team showed its new car and colours in this week's official launch, having already confirmed Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour as its drivers. Gilmour, a New Zealander experienced rally driver, will be the first ever female driver in the history of the Woking-based team.

On the eve of the second Desert X-Prix at Neom, Saudi Arabia, two teams were still missing: XITE Energy Racing and JBXE, both teams having lost their female racers to competitor outfits. One week before the race, the former finally announced its new drivers pairing: Oliver Bennett will return to XITE Energy Racing, and will partner Swedish rallycross up-and-coming star Klara Andersson.

Andersson has made global headlines in 2021, after the 21-year-old became Swedish Rallycross Champion in the 2150 category. In a country that has historically produced some of the best rallycross talents, Andersson rose to the top and established herself as the next big thing in the sport and made her debut in RX2e shortly after.

In the top-electric rallycross series, Andersson impressed right away, finishing fourth at Spa Francorchamps at her first appearance in the finals.

A member of the Swedish Junior National Team of Motorsport - a programme aimed at supporting the most promising national talents - Klara Andersson is only at her fourth season in motor racing, having faced a several year hiatus after an important karting career. In 2020, she was runner-up in the Junior Swedish Rallycross Championship before taking the crown in the main class in 2021 - and now aims higher and higher.

After a test in the Extreme E electric SUV in late October, Andersson expressed interest in the new series which she had followed closely - and which she also appreciated for the innovative approach towards gender equality.

“I think it is super cool that Extreme E has the 50/50 split between the genders" - she commented after her first test with the Acciona Sainz Odyssey21. "I think it is about time actually - it is really nice to see males and females race together as a team."

"There isn't a difference between men and women in this type of sport so I’m super happy to be in a sport where it doesn't matter if you are female or male and we can do this together alongside the sustainability part - it is just amazing."

Finally, she will have her chances to showcase her extraordinary talent in Extreme E in 2022, behind the wheel of the XITE Energy Racing vehicle.

"It’s a dream come true to race in Extreme E and I’m looking forward to a completely new challenge." - she said after the announcement. "Incredibly thankful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to go flat out in the desert!"

The first race is scheduled for 19-20 February in Saudi Arabia, and will be the first out of a 5-event calendar that will take the drivers to Sardinia, Scotland (or Senegal), Chile and Uruguay, visiting some of the most remote venues in the world with the aim of raising awareness on environmental issues.

Photo credits: Francesc Montero

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