New-look Veloce Racing finish top qualifiers at Uruguay Natural Energy X Prix

NOVEMBER 26: Molly Taylor (AUS) / Kevin Hansen (SWE), Veloce Racing, leads Klara Andersson (SWE) / Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Abt Cupra XE, and Hedda Hosas (NOR) / Fraser McConnell (JAM), JBXE during the Punta del Este on November 26, 2022. (Photo by Charly Lopez / LAT Images)

Veloce Racing enjoyed a huge turn in fortunes with their new driving pairing, as they finished top of the pack in Qualifying for the first time at the season-ending Uruguay Natural Energy X Prix.

After finishing P2 in Qualifying 1, Molly Taylor and Kevin Hansen maintained their strong start as they won Qualifying 2 Heat 2 following a penalty for on-course winners ABT CUPRA XE. The victory saw the team leapfrog ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team to the top of the Qualifying standings and into Semi-Final 1.

In the other five-car Heat, Laia Sanz and Carlos Sainz Snr. crossed the line second for the Spanish outfit, hot on the heels of Heat winners Genesys Andretti United Extreme E, to take second in overall Qualifying and a spot in Semi-Final 2.

The day’s racing has blown the championship wide open as we head towards a climactic Finals Day in Punta del Este, Uruguay.

NOVEMBER 26: Klara Andersson (SWE) / Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Abt Cupra XE, leads Molly Taylor (AUS) / Kevin Hansen (SWE), Veloce Racing during the Punta del Este on November 26, 2022. (Photo by Colin McMaster / LAT Images)

A collision for championship leaders Rosberg X Racing ruled them out of contention in Heat 2 and into tomorrow’s Crazy Race alongside nearest challengers X44 Vida Carbon Racing – a first for both teams – as the top two in the title chase found themselves in the bottom two of Qualifying.

Kevin Hansen, Veloce Racing, said: “It’s been a fantastic day. We did a really good job with the set up and driving improvement, and I think we could see that in the first Qualifying. We stayed clean all the way through and had good pace – just half a second off P1.

“In the second round we kept cool. We had a great position going into it and got a lead after the first lap and had a generally good run. We just need to make a few small improvements for tomorrow, but I think we can be really happy with this first day.”

NOVEMBER 26: Catie Munnings (GBR) / Timmy Hansen (SWE), Genesys Andretti United Extreme E, leads Laia Sanz (ESP) / Carlos Sainz (ESP), Acciona | Sainz XE Team during the Punta del Este on November 26, 2022. (Photo by Colin McMaster / LAT Images)

Molly Taylor, Veloce Racing, said: “It’s fantastic to be back in Extreme E and with Veloce. They’re a great team and we’re having a great time, so to have a first day like this has been really encouraging. There is still a lot of work to do on my side, but all in all we’ve been able to push where we could and manage where we needed to. Now we’re really looking forward to tomorrow.”

Qualifying 2 – Heat 1

It was tightly contested off the start line for the five teams in Heat 1, as ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team’s Sainz Snr. and Genesys Andretti United Extreme E’s Timmy Hansen went wheel-to-wheel through the opening corners.

The Swede came out on top, while a spin for XITE ENERGY Racing debutant Ezequiel Companc in third allowed Sébastien Loeb to surge through for X44 Vida Carbon Racing.

The Frenchman was closely followed by RJ Anderson in fourth on his debut for No.99 HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing, as Companc recovered in last place.

The running order was soon turned on its head though, as Loeb took a gamble and dropped to the back of the field to gain the clean air he needed to take on the Continental Traction Challenge.

Loeb’s bold tactics paid off, as X44 Vida Carbon Racing stormed to a time half a second quicker than nearest challengers in the sector, Genesys Andretti United Extreme E, which could prove crucial come Finals Day.

Hansen led for the rest of his stint, building up a lead of five seconds as he handed over to teammate Catie Munnings. It was here in the Switch Zone that the team suffered a five-second penalty for an infringement, meaning that the chase was on for Laia Sanz and the ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team.

The Spaniard launched out of the Switch Zone in pursuit of Genesys Andretti United Extreme E and looked to be closing the gap at a quick enough rate. Despite the pressure from behind, Munnings kept a cool head and maintained a big enough lead to secure the win for her team – despite the penalty – and a spot in Semi-Final 2.

Heading into Semi-Final 1 are No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing, as Sara Price crossed the line third in the Heat to put the team fourth overall.

A strong recovery drive from X44 Vida Carbon Racing’s Cristina Gutierrez saw the Spaniard steal fourth from Tamara Molinaro, although both teams will contest tomorrow’s Crazy Race.

Lewis Hamilton’s outfit will be up against it in the Crazy Race, serving a five-second penalty in the Switch Zone following repairs done after their crash in Qualifying 1.

Hedda Hosas (NOR) / Fraser McConnell (JAM), JBXE

Qualifying 2 – Heat 2

An exciting start saw all five teams converge towards the first waypoint. Just as Nasser Al-Attiyah appeared to have nudged into the lead for ABT CUPRA XE, Johan Kristoffersson carried his speed through the corner to charge up the inside for RXR.

The leading pair continued to duel, and right on their coattails was JBXE debutant Fraser McConnell, who showed his rallycross grit when he got into some wheel-banging with Kristoffersson.

Both drivers recovered well, as the Swede slotted back into second ahead of McConnell, with Veloce Racing’s Kevin Hansen in fourth and Tanner Foust in fifth for NEOM McLaren Extreme E.

The Jamaican was all over the back of ABT CUPRA XE and RXR as he tried to steal the lead for JBXE, until championship leader Kristoffersson stamped his mark on proceedings, cutting through on the inside of Al-Attiyah once again.

While McConnell’s sights were set on the ODYSSEY 21s in front, Hansen seized his chance for Veloce Racing, catching the JBXE driver off guard to pass his former team and secure third.

Up ahead, Al-Attiyah closed in on Kristoffersson as he looked to overtake on the outside, but instead the Qatari made contact with the back of the RXR car, spinning the Swede round. This put RXR into fourth, while Al-Attiyah went off-line through the next corner, opening the door for Hansen to jump from third to first in the ensuing chaos.

As Hansen pulled away in front, the fight was on between Al-Attiyah and McConnell as the latter tried to take second for JBXE. The teams entered the Switch Zone in this order, but not all of them left, as the damage caused to the RXR ODYSSEY 21 put the team out of the Heat and into the Crazy Race.

Molly Taylor set off to hold onto first for Veloce Racing, as Klara Andersson delivered a good launch from the Switch Zone to pull away from JBXE’s Hedda Hosås.

Andersson carried this pace throughout her lap as she closed the gap to Taylor out in front, looking down the inside twice before passing the Australian to take the lead for ABT CUPRA XE.

The Swede kept her lead until the finish line, but a 30-second penalty for Al-Attiyah’s collision with Kristoffersson put ABT CUPRA XE down to fourth in the Heat, paving the way for Veloce Racing to top the overall Qualifying standings for the first time. The two teams will battle for supremacy in tomorrow’s Semi-Final 1.

NOVEMBER 26: Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky (SWE) / Johan Kristoffersson (SWE), Rosberg X Racing leads Klara Andersson (SWE) / Nasser Al-Attiyah (QAT), Abt Cupra XE, followed by Hedda Hosas (NOR) / Fraser McConnell (JAM), JBXE during the Punta del Este on November 26, 2022. (Photo by Charly Lopez / LAT Images)

ABT CUPRA XE’s penalty promoted NEOM McLaren Extreme E to third in the Heat and sixth overall, putting them in Semi-Final 2 alongside ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team and Genesys Andretti United Extreme E.

The demotion for ABT CUPRA XE also launched JBXE up into second, but Jenson Button’s team will still have to contest tomorrow’s Crazy Race.

As the ten teams head into Finals Day of the Uruguay Natural Energy X Prix, find out where you can watch the here.


Heat 1:
1. Genesys Andretti United Extreme E 10:22:885 (PENALISED)
2. ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team +3.098
3. GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing +13.200
4. X44 Vida Carbon Racing +37.539
5. XITE ENERGY Racing +1:01.658

Heat 2:
1. Veloce Racing 10:28.323
2. JBXE +2.483
3. NEOM McLaren Extreme E +24.830
5. Rosberg X Racing DNF

Having completed both rounds of Qualifying, Intermediate Classification points were awarded as follows:

Veloce Racing: 19 points
ACCIONA | SAINZ XE Team: 18 points
Genesys Andretti United Extreme E: 16 points
No.99 GMC HUMMER EV Chip Ganassi Racing: 14 points
ABT CUPRA XE: 11 points
NEOM McLaren Extreme E: 11 points
JBXE: 8 points
XITE ENERGY Racing: 6 points
X44 Vida Carbon Racing: 4 points
Rosberg X Racing: 0 points