The qualifying stage played a key role in the results of Extreme E’s second X-Prix of the first season, raced off the coast of Senegal. This is the case of the Chip Ganassi Racing team, which despite having a good first round, fell in the second and its aspirations were affected.
The pilot of the American team, Kyle LeDuc, revealed that a tree forced a stop that he described as unprecedented due to the bad luck of the appearance of flora in the middle of the vehicle, a situation that took him away from the top positions.
The American champion laureate had his way paved for an outstanding performance at Lac Rose, when his Odyssey 21 machine unexpectedly came to a halt.
LeDuc had recovered 5.3 seconds against X44 star Cristina Gutiérrez and his teammate, nine-time world rally champion Sebastien Loeb, during the first half of the lap when the incident occurred.
The key moment of defeat
Chip Ganassi’s racer detailed that a tree branch caused the strange moment when it caught in a small loop in the rear panel of the car and caused a preventive shutdown.
“Stinks. I had good times in the sector, so I was very, very motivated to reach the semi-final and try to even the playing field between our team and the X44 team,” said LeDuc visibly upset after qualifying.
“It was not our day. I walked into the rear section and one of the trees hit the switch on the roof. The tree threw it, this was one in a million. Nothing broke, the tree just grabbed it, pulled it and ripped it off,” he recounted.
In the immediate aftermath of the accident, LeDuc rushed out of the car and pressed the reset button on the front of the machine, but lost about three minutes before being guided to the rear of the car to find the affected kill switch.
“I had to try to diagnose it in the car.”
“There are only a couple of ways to make the car shut down completely. I did not think of the trees. I should have done the math, that’s going to bother me at all times,” he explained.
Other teams affected by shutdowns
Chip Ganassi Racing was not the only team to experience a tragic weekend in terms of stoppage results. Andretti United and the Spanish Sainz’s ACCIONA, also saw how their machines left them on the road.
Andretti United team principal Roger Griffiths attributed driver Timmy Hansen’s stoppage to a heavy impact that caused mechanical failure and a subsequent delay before the car was restarted.
On his side, two-time world rally champion Carlos Sainz stated that a plummet by his teammate, Laia Sainz, had buckled the front protection which had later broken a pipe. That caused a water leak in the front engine cooling system and forced a withdrawal in qualifying on Saturday morning.
The three teams ran out of places in the semifinals, so they lived a day to be forgotten in the second event of the inaugural Extreme E campaign.
Written by I Jhonattan González