Extreme E is coming to South America: next weekend (September 24 and 25), the series for purely electric off-road SUVs will hold its fourth round of the season in Chile. The location could hardly be more extreme: The venue for the Copper X Prix is a mine in the middle of the legendary Atacama Desert in the west of the country – one of the driest places on the planet. ABT CUPRA XE with Jutta Kleinschmidt and Nasser Al-Attiyah wants to join the other teams in drawing attention to the challenges of the region and at the same time fight for the first trophy of the current season.
Even though the German-Qatari duo was quick in the first three events and put one or two exclamation marks on the results: Countable successes like a trophy are yet to come. Again and again, minor setbacks prevented a finish on the podium. “Of course, we can’t be satisfied with the season so far in terms of results. Our ambition is to be racing for the podium at every race,” clarifies ABT CEO Thomas Biermaier. “On the positive side, the drivers, team and car clearly have what it takes to win races. So it’s up to all of us to call on that potential on two flawless days and turn it into a good result.”
The Copper X Prix is the debut of Extreme E in South America. The venue is a mine site just under 100 kilometres from the nearest town of Calama, on which the approximately 3.4-kilometre circuit is designed. Just one millimetre of precipitation per year is common in the inhospitable Atacama Desert. Accordingly, water waste and pollution as well as the loss of biodiversity due to mining are two of the issues that drivers and teams want to draw attention to away from the sporting action. On the track, Kleinschmidt and Al-Attiyah will be competing for their first trophy in their CUPRA Tavascan XE in the fourth of five rounds of the season.
In Extreme E, ten teams – including those of former Formula 1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – are competing for the championship. One woman and one man each take turns at the wheel. After the season opener in Saudi Arabia in February, the two races in July on Sardinia and the premiere in Chile, the final race will be held on the coast of Uruguay in November.
Jutta Kleinschmidt: “Everything has to fit to the point”
Jutta Kleinschmidt wishes for only one thing before the showdown in Chile: a calm and smooth weekend. “The appearance at this spectacular location in South America will of course be an exciting adventure for the whole Extreme E family. We’re really looking forward to it,” says the German. In sporting terms, however, it may well be less adventurous than last time. “Our big goal is a smooth weekend. We know that we have the speed for the podium and we’ve shown it. Now everything has to be right on the dot.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Finally want to take home a trophy”
For Nasser Al-Attiyah the race in Chile is a return to familiar terrain. “Of course I have many good memories of my first Dakar win there in 2011, and it’s great that Extreme E is finally coming to South America and introducing electrified motorsport to this part of the world,” says the now four-time Dakar winner. He is certain: “This round will be very interesting for everyone. The final of the championship is approaching and we want to show what we are capable of with our team. We’ve shown a strong performance recently and now we want to take home a trophy.”
One of the eye-catchers in the field: the CUPRA Tavascan XE
The CUPRA Tavascan XE replaces the e-CUPRA ABT XE1 from the first season: With its spectacular exterior and striking LED lights, the off-road rally car provides a first hint of the CUPRA Tavascan production vehicle’s future design language. The brand’s second purely electric model is being developed in Barcelona and is scheduled to be launched to the market in 2024. The CUPRA Tavascan XE is more sustainable than its predecessor: 3D-printed flax fibre parts make working on the vehicle even more flexible and environmentally friendly.
GridPlay: How fans can support ABT CUPRA XE
The best starting position in the final can bring a preliminary decision – and that is in the hands of the fans. From September 21 (11 am) until September 24 (6 pm), fans can vote twice a day on the Extreme E website. The votes are added up, and the team with the most fans gets to choose its position on the grid. Additional strategic element: even the teams that do not reach the final play an important role by passing on their votes to a team of their choice.