Where the Ice is melting - Extreme E lands in Greenland
Extreme E will bring the first ever motorsport event to Greenland, as the Arctic X Prix is hosted in Kangerlussuaq. The third round will feature a new driver and a slightly updated format after the first two events of 2021. Here's what you need to know.
Extreme E will hit the unique surface of Greenland this weekend with its third round of the season: it's time for the Artic X Prix. Greenland is heavily impacted by the climate crisis, which is quickly melting the ice covering the island. One of the only two ice sheets is located in Greenland - and it's drastically disappearing. As part of the Extreme E tour, the brand-new series aims at raising awareness on the issues and on the dangers and consequences of our lifestyles on our planet. At the current melting rate, many cities including London, Shanghai, New Orleans, Sydney and Singapore would be submerged as a consequence of the global sea level rise.
Greenland is a good case study when speaking about making a difference and focusing on renewable energy and e-mobility; 70 to 90% of the whole energy need is produced via hydropower plants, and the target is to reach the 100% goal by 2030.
The chosen area around Kangerlussuaq - the venue that will become this weekend's racing course - was previously occupied by the glacier, then affected by the ice melting. As per Extreme E mission, the teams and drivers spent time to learn about the issue: they visited the glacial sediments, rocks and sand dunes - as well as walked the course to discover the pivotal and technical sections around the rocks.
But alongside the track reveal, this weekend's event format will undergo some changes; here's a recap of the rules: there will be two qualifying sessions on Saturday, one in the morning and one in the afternoon. Each team will complete two laps with a driver switch in between. The lap times will set the leaderboard and points will be assigned as follow: the first-placed gets 9 points, the second will score 8 points, third will score 7, and so on. The same format will be repeated in the afternoon's session.
The combined results will set the intermediate standings - which will now be based on points rather than lap times like in Saudi Arabia and Senegal. These points, though, will not add up to the championship points.
The 1st, 5th and 6th placed teams will make it to Semi-Final 1, while the 2nd, 3rd and 4th placed team advance to Semi-Final 2. This time, the 7th, 8th and 9th team are set to compete in the Crazy Race. Probably the most interesting new feature is that the 5 qualified squads - meaning the two best finishers from both Semi Finals and the winner of the Crazy Race - will make it to the big final, and will thus remain in contention for the victory of the Arctic X Prix.
The fastest driver of the Super Sector - which is a specific and challenging part of the course - will earn 5 extra points for the championship. Last time out, it was Kyle LeDuc (Chip Ganassi Racing) to claim the extra points, as the feature was introduced.
One of the drivers that the Extreme E followers saw stepping on the podium in Dakar will not be at the start of this weekend's event: Veloce Racing's driver Jamie Chadwick is in fact in Spa Francorchamps due to clashing commitments with the all-female championship W Series. As announced before the start of the season, it will be rally specialist Emma Gilmour to step in for the formula racing star.
The driver from New Zealand has competed in several WRC events and New Zealand Rally Championship with success and also made an appearance at the 2014 X Games. She will partner Stéphane Sarrazin in the Veloce Racing electric SUV in Greenland.
“I’m so excited to get started." - said Emma. "Obviously, I have been involved with Veloce Racing in my role as Reserve Driver so far this season but now to be able to get behind the wheel and go racing is going to be incredible."
"I’m under no illusions though. This is a tough series with some of the world’s best drivers on the grid." - she added. "It’s going to be the biggest test of my skills to-date and to do it against such a spectacular backdrop is going to make it even more special.”
The Artic X Prix will start on Friday with the Shakedown, as teams and drivers get to know the new course. On Saturday, the two qualifying rounds are scheduled for 13:30 CET and 18:00 CET.
Sunday will be full of racing action, with the Semi Finals starting at 12:00 CET - followed by the big final at 16:00 CET, as we will find out the winner of the 2021 Artic X Prix.