Finale of a season with ups and downs: This weekend, ABT CUPRA XE will start in Punta del Este (Uruguay) for the last race of the second Extreme E season. As was the case last time out in Chile, 22-year-old Swede Klara Andersson will compete alongside Nasser Al-Attiyah in the CUPRA Tavascan XE. A new feature of the season finale: For the first time, up to 10,000 fans will be at the track.
“Punta is a great location for the finale – especially because we will even have fans there for the first time,” says ABT CEO Thomas Biermaier. “In sporting terms, we want to end this season on a high and take a sense of achievement into the short winter break. A place on the podium and fighting for victory is our goal for Uruguay.”
The so-called Energy X Prix will be held on a course about a 20-minute drive northeast of downtown Punta del Este. The surface is a mixture of grass and gravel, and it can quickly become muddy when it rains. Only a road separates the track and the paddock from the kilometre-long beach.
In Extreme E, ten teams – including the teams of former Formula 1 world champions Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg – battle to win the championship. In each case, a woman and a man take turns at the wheel. After the season opener in Saudi Arabia in February, two races in July on Sardinia and the debut in Chile’s Atacama Desert in September, Uruguay will be the venue for the finale.
ABT Sportsline has good memories of Punta del Este: ABT driver Lucas di Grassi has already stood on the podium there during the early years of Formula E. The backdrop of the coastal town with its rough surf, which is popular with tourists throughout South America, is unique. An additional highlight: on the Thursday before the race, all ten teams drive through the town in their race cars to promote the weekend’s event and Extreme E.
Klara Andersson: “Adventure and challenge”
“I’ve never been to Uruguay before, so even the whole journey is an adventure,” says Klara Andersson, who is competing in the World Rallycross Championship this year in parallel and with great success. “It’s a great challenge, but in any case, we are better prepared than last time in Chile.” There, Andersson spontaneously stepped in before qualifying for Jutta Kleinschmidt, who had dropped out after an accident. “We now have the opportunity to sort ourselves out in advance, clarify open questions and prepare for the event in a structured way. I’ve got the course walk to get to know the track on site and two free practice sessions to get used to everything before qualifying – a normal race weekend, in other words. The goals for the finale are ambitious: “We’re pushing together for a good end to the team’s season. We saw in Chile that we have the pace for this. We’ll build on that.”
Nasser Al-Attiyah: “Looking forward to the finale in front of lots of fans”
Nasser Al-Attiyah arrives at the season finale as a World Champion: The Qatari won the inaugural FIA World Rally Raid Championship title in a dramatic event in October, beating Extreme E rival Sébastien Loeb among others. “That was a fantastic end to the season,” says Al-Attiyah. Now he wants to take the momentum with him to Uruguay: “We saw in Chile that we can race for trophies and victory with a clean race day – and that’s exactly our goal for Uruguay.” There is no real winter break for Al-Attiyah: In January, he will take part in the Dakar Rally, which he has already won four times. “Now, my focus is fully on the XE finale. Starting in front of so many spectators is something that I’m not used to. I’m looking forward to it and hope we’ll have plenty of time for the fans.”
One of the eye-catchers in the field: the CUPRA Tavascan XE
This season, the team is competing with the CUPRA Tavascan XE. 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 be the deciding factor – and that is in the hands of the fans. From November 23 (10 am) until November 26 (6 pm), fans can vote twice a day on the Extreme E website. The votes are added up and the team with the most votes gets to choose its position on the grid. An 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.