Rosberg X Racing ahead after Chile Extreme E qualifying

Charly Lopez/Motorsport Images

Rosberg X Racing ahead after Chile Extreme E qualifying

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Rosberg X Racing ahead after Chile Extreme E qualifying

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Championship leaders Rosberg X Racing topped qualifying for Extreme E’s Copper X-Prix in Antofagasta, Chile, edging X44 Vida Carbon Racing after a penalty cost the Lewis Hamilton-backed team top spot.

RXR, with drivers Johan Kristoffersson and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky,  paced the first part of qualifying, which comprised four-lap, single-car runs, setting a combined four-lap time of 8m49.216s, 20.951s quicker that the fastest practice time of friday as the track continued to bed in and drivers became more comfortable with the 3.05km/1.9-mile course.

In the second part of qualifying, the five car races, X44’s Sebastien Loeb and Cristina Gutierrez finished first on the road in their heat, ahead of practice pacesetters Acciona Sainz (Carlos Sainz and Laia Sanz), but a 10-second penalty after Loeb clipped a Waypoint marker dropped them to second on the road — the drop cost them a vital extra qualifying point in the combined qualifying standings.

Chip Ganassi Racing’s Kyle LeDuc and Sara Price secured third spot, despite a bruising Q2 race in which they sustained a puncture and finished almost a whole lap down.

LeDuc engaged in a close battle with XITE Energy Racing’s Timo Scheider from the off, but the battle would soon prove to be needless with Scheider — along with RXR’s Kristoffersson and Veloce Racing’s Lance Woolridge — receiving a penalty for bizarrely missing the 12th Waypoint.

Nevertheless, contact from that battle left LeDuc dropping off the pace and eventually nursing a three-tired car back to the switch zone at the end of his two laps. The XITE car would later retire with broken steering.

Acciona Sainz finished qualifying fourth overall. The team looked set to translate its practice pace into the timed solo car run of first qualifying, but for a slow driver change thanks to a seatbelt issue, and a subsequent penalty for a switch zone infringement when Sainz set off with a crew member still in the team’s service bay. The Spanish squad bounced back in Q2, though, remaining within 10s of X44 after their tense battle to be classified first in the second of those heat races.

Andretti United’s Timmy Hansen and Catie Munnings rounded out the top five qualifiers, after also rebounding after a tricky morning. A power steering issue during Munnings’ two timed laps cost the team dearly, but the Anglo-American duo reversed their fortunes to capitalize on others’ misfortune in Q2. Timmy Hansen had already made a strong start to move into an early lead, but the aforementioned trio of penalties for teams missing Waypoint 12 all but secured heat victory for the team.

Sixth went the way of Abt Cupra, with the team’s regular driver Nasser Al-Attiyah being joined by Klara Andersson after Jutta Kleinschmidt was ruled out of the remainder of the weekend through injury after overshooting a jump landing in second practice on Friday. They beat McLaren’s Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour, Scheider and Tamara Molinaro of XITE Energy Racing, and Jenson Button’s JBXE team (Kevin Hansen and Hedda Hosas).

Veloce Racing completed the field, with the team of Woolridge and Christine Giampaoli Zonca having a trouble-free run in Q1, but retiring from Q2 with a broken driveshaft after contact.

Qualifying decides the lineups for Sunday morning’s races. First, fourth, and fifth go into the first semifinal, meaning RXR, Acciona Sainz, and Andretti United will all line up together; while second, third, and sixth — X44, Ganassi, and Abt Cupra — make up the second semifinal field. The remaining teams, seventh through 10th (McLaren, XITE Energy Racing, JBXE, and Veloce) will battle it out in the “Crazy Race.”

Two will progress to the final from each semi, but on the winner of the Crazy Race will make it to the main event.

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