Veloce Racing’s Molly Taylor and Kevin Hansen set the pace in Friday practice as the third season of Extreme E got underway in NEOM, Saudi Arabia.
The pair’s combined time over four laps of 11m27.589s was 2.278s clear of Andretti United’s Catie Munnings and Timmy Hansen, who had been at the top of the standings until Veloce took to the 3.4 km/2.1-mile beachside track at the end of the day.
Acciona Sainz’s Laia Sanz and new signing Mattias Ekstrom were third fastest in the second session of the day, avenging a penalty in the morning session after they clipped a Waypoint marker.
Season one champion team Rosberg X Racing (Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky and Johan Kristoffersson) were fourth fastest, ahead of Abt Cupra’s Klara Andersson and Nasser Al-Attiyah — who set the fastest individual lap time of 2m20.562. Individual best sector times were spread throughout the field with Timmy Hansen quickest in sector one, Al-Attiyah quickest in the second on his session-best lap, Kevin Hansen quickest in S3, and Taylor going fastest in S4,
Chip Ganassi Racing’s GMC Hummer EV entry was sixth with its all-new driver pairing of Amanda Sorensen and RJ Anderson, while Hedda Hosas and Formula 1 race winner Heikki Kovalainen were seventh for JBXE, one spot ahead of Carl Cox Motorsport’s Christine Giampaoli Zonca and Timo Scheider.
It wasn’t the best start to the season for reigning champion outfit X44 Vida Carbon Racing (Cristina Gutierrez and Fraser McConnell), who were penalized for a dropped flag at Waypoint 20 and switch zone overspeeding in the morning session, before stopping with a technical issue on their first lap in the afternoon. The team was, however, allowed a second FP2 attempt, albeit only one lap for each driver, which led to their being ranked last with no official time.
McLaren was classified one spot ahead of the Lewis Hamilton-owned team after only completing three of the mandated four laps in the afternoon, with Tanner Foust mistakenly pulling into the switch zone rather than crossing the finish line at the end of his first lap after taking over from teammate Emma Gilmour.