Start of new electric rally: German driver overturns several times

Start of a new electric rally
German pilot rolls over several times

The Extreme E starts its first race with big goals. In the all-electric series, however, it is not the drive that makes the headlines, but a spectacular accident. The German pilot Claudia Hürtgen crashes violently, but apparently lightly.

The new Extreme E racing series in the Saudi Arabian desert of Al-Ula began with a tremendous shock for Claudia Hürtgen. The Aachen rider, who has been tried and tested in many racing series, survived a spectacular rollover with her Abt Cupra XE unharmed except for a painful bite in her own tongue. “Claudia is fine,” said the Abt team: “She was available the whole time, but couldn’t answer because the radio was down.”

Hürtgen’s car had lost traction in a long right bend and rolled over several times. “Maybe I hit a stone,” said Huertgen, who was able to free herself from the wreck. There was little of her car left like a few seconds. When the cloud of dust cleared, the Abt racing car was half on the roof and half on its side. However, she was only able to watch the second qualifying as a spectator. The car is “pretty junk,” said Abt press spokesman Mark Schneider: “Today it won’t work anymore.”

In Extreme E, the teams start with SUVs with electric motors. The self-declared aim of the racing series is to drive in places where the consequences of climate change are already visible and can be illustrated today. Equality should also be promoted, which is why a team consists of one pilot and one female pilot.

Nine teams are at the start, with a duel between the former Mercedes stable mates and Formula 1 world champions Nico Rosberg and Lewis Hamilton, who each have their own racing team. With Jenson Button, there is also a third ex-champion from the premier class of motorsport – the Briton is not only a team owner, but also a driver. Carlos Sainz, four-time winner of the traditional Dakar Rally, is also the namesake and driver.