Veloce Racing quickest in Free Practice as Season 3 gets underway in NEOM

Veloce Racing quickest in Free Practice as Season 3 gets underway in NEOM

11.03.2023: Molly Taylor (AUS) / Kevin Hansen (SWE), Veloce Racing during the Desert X-Prix on March 10, 2023. Extreme E returned to action today for the first round of Season 3 in spectacular style. The championshipís ten teams got back behind the wheel in N

 


Molly Taylor (AUS) / Kevin Hansen (SWE), Veloce Racing during the Desert X-Prix on March 10, 2023.



Extreme E returned to action today for the first round of Season 3 in spectacular style. The championship’s ten teams got back behind the wheel in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, along the shores of the Red Sea for what promises to be the most tightly fought season to-date.



The 3.4-kilometre course of the 2023 Desert X Prix will provide many challenges. The sandy terrain will be difficult to manage, while navigating the racing lines as the track develops throughout the weekend will also prove pivotal.



As the drivers got a feel for the course, Extreme E marks an exciting start to its third season with an all-new sporting format. With each X Prix now a double-header, the series’ contenders have even more of opportunity to steal glory from defending champions X44 Vida Carbon Racing.



His Royal Highness Prince Khalid Bin Sultan Al-Abdullah Al-Faisal, Chairman of the Saudi Automobile and Motorcycle Federation and the Saudi Motorsport Company, said: “It is always an honour and a pleasure to host these events that are important to us.



We’re a big fan of sport and have a lot to offer here, especially for rallying. We also have a lot of plans for the future around sustainability and preserving this environment which provides that backdrop to racing.




“Formula E was the first motorsport that we ever hosted and Extreme E one of the latest, so we hope that shows our commitment to clean energy.



“NEOM is all about attracting people to join us on our mission to develop a better way of living that is sustainable and efficient. We want to diversify our economy and it is our job to preserve the world and provide clean energy. Saudi Arabia is investing into new technologies and NEOM represents the pinnacle of that.”



After all twenty drivers got back into the swing of things in Free Practice 1, the times began to tumble in the second session.



Fastest in Free Practice 2 were Veloce Racing with a time of 11:27.589mins. Having shown promising pace on debut for the team in Uruguay, Kevin Hansen and Molly Taylor laid down the marker on the shores of NEOM, with Hansen dominating Sector 3 and Taylor securing the quickest time of all the drivers through Sector 4 in FP2.



Kevin Hansen, Veloce Racing, said: “The confidence and spirit within Veloce Racing is extremely high and we’re ready for the Desert X Prix double-header in NEOM.



“This is the best preparation I have had before an XE season, and the team pulled out all the stops with the testing programme in Dubai and with their efforts here in NEOM so far. The ingredients are in place so now we need to go out and execute the plan over the weekend.”



Molly Taylor, Veloce Racing driver, said: “We’ve already had such a great few weeks of preparation in both Dubai and here in NEOM, and now we can’t wait for the opening rounds of the new Extreme E season to begin.



“The car has felt good during testing and practice, and we’re confident that we can be fighting at the front this weekend.”



Defending champions X44 Vida Carbon Racing enter the season-opener on the backfoot, with penalties in FP1 and technical issues ending their second run prematurely. With the top four teams separated by just over four seconds across Free Practice, the battle is on to find the performance needed to come away from Saudi Arabia victorious.




Veloce Racing’s nearest challengers were Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E who, off the back of seventh in the championship standings last season, have started the opening sessions of the new campaign strongly with a best time of 11:29.867mins (FP2).



Also setting their fastest time in the second session were ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team who rounded out the top three with 11:30.372. The fastest individual lap of the day came from Mattias Ekström. The Swede returns to Extreme E in place of injured Carlos Sainz Snr. and showed no signs of rust on his comeback to the series.



Coming in a close fourth were Rosberg X Racing as they look to bounce back after a disappointing end to their title fight last season, while ABT CUPRA XE closed out the day in fifth off the back of a maiden victory at the Season 2 finale in Uruguay.



No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing and JBXE finished sixth and seventh, respectively, as their new drivers get up to speed with the ODYSSEY 21 and hope to show their hand as the first round of the Desert X Prix gets underway tomorrow.



NEOM McLaren Extreme E team looked quick across both practice sessions, topping the time sheet in FP1 before failing to record a time in FP2 when Tanner Foust incorrectly entered the Switch Zone instead of completing his final lap.



Making their Extreme E debut Carl Cox Motorsport finished in ninth with a time of 12:05.095 as Timo Scheider and Christine GZ grow accustomed to their new surroundings.



Free Practice combined timings:


1. Veloce Racing: 11:27.589 (FP2)
2. Andretti ALTAWKILAT Extreme E: 11:29.867 (FP2)
3. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 11:30.372 (FP2)
4. Rosberg X Racing: 11:31.885 (FP2)
5. ABT CUPRA XE: 11:40.273 (FP2)
6. No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing: 11:54.158 (FP2)
7. JBXE: 11:56.093 (FP2)
8. NEOM McLaren Extreme E: 12:00.397 (FP1)
9. Carl Cox Motorsport: 12:05.095 (FP2)
10. X44 Vida Carbon Racing: 12:31.374 (FP1)



Extreme E’s Season 3 curtain-raiser promises to be a thriller. Find out where you can watch all of the action here.





Extreme E  photos © Charly Lopez

Permanent-URL: http://www.automobilsport.com/veloce-rracing-quickest-neom-desert---248377.html

11.03.2023 / MaP

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