Extreme E: Season Two Team News

#42 Xite Energy Racing with Christine GZ and Oliver Bennet, Extreme E Championship, Jurassic X Prix, Bovington, UK, 18/12/2021, (Images by and Copyright Matt Hancock), Images shot for Racerviews.

XITE Energy Racing has announced that Oliver Bennett will return to Extreme E for Season 2 alongside Swedish debutant Klara Andersson.

XITE Energy Racing will be looking to build on the lessons learned in Season 1 at the first X Prix of 2022 next weekend (19-20 February) in NEOM, Saudi Arabia.

Bennett brings plenty of off-road experience behind the wheel, including competing in the inaugural Extreme E campaign in 2021. In 2016 he made his debut in the British Rallycross Championship and the following season fought for the title. The 29-year-old British driver has also competed in FIA World Rallycross and Americas Rallycross events, as well as the Gymkhana GRID in Cape Town in 2018.

21-year-old Andersson will be looking to help make the difference for XITE Energy Racing in her maiden Extreme E campaign. The ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team introduced the Swedish protégé to the Championship during the Rookie Test which followed the Enel X Island X Prix.

Andersson started karting at the age of 7 and raced for six years, winning on Swedish, Norwegian and Italian tracks before switching to rallycross in 2019. The young Swede is now an up-and-coming talent in rallycross and has raced in the Swedish Rallycross Championship, becoming 2150 class winner in 2021. Andersson also had a stunning debut in RX2e at the end of last year, with an impressive 4th place in the finals highlighting the potential she brings to Extreme E.

Oliver Bennett, XITE Energy Racing, said: “I don’t think we saw the best of XITE Energy Racing in Extreme E last season. The organisers have made some improvements to the cars for this season, so hopefully Klara and I will be able to show what we’re about in Saudi Arabia.

“The location for this race is just extraordinary. We are literally in the middle of nowhere in the Arabian Desert; it takes a moment just to register where we’re racing. Going off the line at full throttle takes you to 60mph or 100kph in four seconds and that tends to focus your attention on the corner ahead rather than the amazing landscape!”

Klara Andersson, XITE Energy Racing, said: “I’m mega excited! It’s a dream come true to race in Extreme E with XITE Energy and Oliver. I’m looking forward to a completely new challenge. I’m incredibly thankful for the opportunity, and I can’t wait to go flat out in the desert!”

News of XITE Energy Racing’s competitive return comes just days after the announcement that XITE Energy will remain as the Championship’s official energy drink partner.

ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team have retained their driver line-up for the forthcoming campaign, with Carlos Sainz Sr. and Laia Sanz back behind the wheel for Extreme E Season 2.

Sainz Sr. and Sanz were part of a hotly contested inaugural season of Extreme E and this was possibly best evidenced in the midfield, where the teams fourth to sixth in the Championship were separated by just 17 points. The Spanish duo finished sixth in the standings, tied on points with ABT Cupra XE courtesy of a podium in Greenland keeping them in the fight.

ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team began their maiden Extreme E campaign with a strong showing in Saudi Arabia, qualifying second and finishing the Desert X Prix in fourth. A difficult Ocean X Prix meant Sainz Sr. and Sanz could only finish eighth, but they bounced back strongly in Greenland to take their first podium in the series with a third-place finish.

Sainz Sr. and Sanz’s progress was hindered in Sardinia as they finished seventh, but a strong fifth place at the season-finale in the UK after qualifying in the top three ensured they ended the campaign on a high. The team will be determined to pick up where they left off on course in Season 2, which gets underway next month in NEOM, Saudi Arabia (19-20 February).

Carlos Sainz Sr., arguably one of the greatest rally drivers of all-time, has won the FIA World Rally Championship twice, in 1990 and 1992. He has also won the Dakar Rally three times: in 2010, 2011 and 2020. The Spanish driver received the Princess of Asturias Sports Award in 2020 for his successful career in elite world motorsport, and in the same year, was voted the best driver in rallying by fans and journalists.

Most recently the 59-year-old Spaniard, driving for the Audi Q Motorsport team, arrived in Saudi Arabia for the Dakar rally seeking a third overall triumph in five years. Sainz Snr. won stage three, recording the fastest time in the Car category by 38 seconds, and finished 12th overall.

Also competing in the 2022 Dakar Rally was Laia Sanz, marking her car debut having ridden motorbikes at the Dakar Rally every year since 2011 and having made the switch to cars for Extreme E Season One.

Sanz has been crowned Trial World Champion 13 times, Enduro World Champion on five occasions and has finished the Dakar Rally ten times between 2011 and 2020. She finished ninth overall in 2015, achieving the best result ever by a woman in the motorcycle category on the event.

Carlos Sainz Snr., ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team, said: “We are about to start Season 2 of the Extreme E Championship. It’s quite surprising how fast time flies because it seemed yesterday that we were about to embark on this thrilling adventure that has taken us all over the world with a unique message. All the members of the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team, also Laia and myself, are really looking forward to this new season in which we want to fight for everything. The experience we gained in 2021 must help us to take a step forward to start fighting for better results and even the Championship. I am really looking forward to the first X Prix in Saudi Arabia to show just how much we have progressed.

“The level of the Championship is really high, but we want to win and to send the strongest possible message about the importance of sustainability and respecting the environment. It makes me proud that we are doing this with a project that is entirely Spanish, so I would also like to take this opportunity to thank all the parties that make this possible for their confidence, including Santander Private Banking and Power Electronics, which will continue supporting us this year.”

Laia Sanz, ACCIONA | Sainz XE Team, said: “I am really looking forward to the season opener in Saudi Arabia. I think it will be a different year to 2021 because we are not starting from scratch. Now the team has experience with the Odyssey 21 and I have been able to do many kilometres on four wheels, so I am convinced that I will be able to help the team much more. In the last races of 2021, we already took a step forward in terms of performance and I think that this is promising for what is to come. This winter I was able to do my first Dakar Rally racing on cars and I believe this will also prove really positive for this Extreme E season.

“It is true that I still lack experience in the wheel-to-wheel fights, but I am getting used to them and I am convinced that this season will be much better for us and that we will fight for better results. The level of the Championship got much higher throughout 2021 and everything seems to suggest that this 2022 will be even tighter, so I am really looking forward to getting started.”

Chip Ganassi Racing has today announced that it will retain its Season 1 drivers, Kyle LeDuc and Sara Price, for Extreme E’s second season.

With experienced off-road racers Price and LeDuc once again at the wheel for Chip Ganassi Racing, many will expect the American team to build on their Season 1 performances and challenge near the front of the pack in Season 2. Following a run of bad luck last year, the team and fans will be hoping for better fortune in 2022.

Extreme E Season 1 marked the Chip Ganassi Racing’s debut in electric motorsport and they certainly made an entrance. The American duo’s strong pace was clear enough, with LeDuc claiming the Ocean X Prix’s Super Sector and five extra points for his team at the second event of the year.

Despite flashes of potential, technical troubles and ill-fortune hindered the team throughout the season. It looked like the team’s luck would finally turn in the Enel X Island X Prix after reaching the Final and taking a lead going into the last lap, but their hopes of a dream victory ended with broken steering.

Their inaugural season ended at the Jurassic X Prix in Dorset, UK, where the American team managed to fend off XITE Energy Racing in both the Crazy Race and the Championship as a whole, finishing eighth in the standings with 74 points to XITE Energy Racing’s 63.

Founded and helmed by former racer Chip Ganassi, the eponymously-named Chip Ganassi Racing celebrated its 30th anniversary in 2020. Over the past three decades, the team has claimed no fewer than 19 major titles and more than 220 race wins across a wide variety of motorsport disciplines – from INDYCAR to IMSA and NASCAR to the FIA World Endurance Championship – and in partnership with eight different manufacturers.

Kyle LeDuc, Chip Ganassi Racing, said: “I’m super pumped to be on board with Chip Ganassi Racing for the 2022 Extreme E series. We have taken what we learned in 2021 and ripped it to shreds to find the strong and the weak points and have addressed every issue with pinpoint accuracy. Sara and I will bring what’s needed to be intensely competitive and bring the action the world expects from us, and we know we can deliver. I can’t wait to get around the world and race in new locations, meet new people and learn what we can do as humans to fix issues around the world.”

Sara Price, Chip Ganassi Racing, said: “I’m very excited to be with Chip Ganassi Racing for our second season in the Extreme E series. In our first season, our speed showed but the results weren’t there. This is our redemption year. We are more than prepared, we’ve learned a lot, and it’s time to show the world what we have. We have an incredible team behind us, and Kyle and I are two drivers ready for what’s to come and showing the world what we are capable of.”

LeDuc holds an astonishing record of six Pro 4 Championship wins and over 100 race victories in the Lucas Oil Off Road Racing Series. Nicknamed ‘The Kid’, he made history as the youngest active driver in off-road racing and took the title of 2003 Prolite World Champion. LeDuc’s successes quickly moved him up from two-wheel drive to four-wheel drive as he entered the Pro 4 category in 2008, achieving his first win that same year. His first Pro 4 Championship title came in 2012, and he completed the 2020 season with his most recent championship triumph.

Price, a Californian who started her career on dirt bikes at the age of just eight, is a 19-time national champion who became Kawasaki’s first factory-supported female motocross rider in history. Prior to making the switch to four-wheeled racing in 2012, she achieved a medal in Women’s Super X at the X Games contest. In addition to her Extreme E commitments, Price currently works as a stunt professional, performing on motorcycles and in vehicles and as a precision driver for television and film.

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By Matt Hancock

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