Loeb and Gutiérrez for Team X44 won after McLaren were penalised in the final. RXR failed to start due to a software issue allowing X44 to get within 2 points with a single round to go.
There was drama in Chile before the final started with Rosberg X Racing stuck in their tent unable to move. This promoted Chip Ganassi into the race as the first reserves. At the start ABT Cupra took the advantage at the first corner with McLaren forced wide dropping down the pack. Coming out of turn 1 it was Sebastien Loeb who instead took the lead. Nassar Al-Attiyah having lost first put a robust defence up against Acciona Sainz, forcing Carlos Sainz wide. This allowed McLaren’s Tanner Foust a better run onto the back straight and the American driver took second.
Kyle LeDuc also looked to get past Al-Attiyah but made contact and the Chip Ganassi vehicle hit a way point flag. Out front Foust set about for the lead. He was able to pass Loeb just a short distance before the switch zone. However, earlier in the lap he knocked over a gate marker which would later earn the team a 10 second penalty.
Cristina Gutiérrez immediately used her hyperdrive out of the switch zone which gave her and X44 the lead once again. The new leader clipped a flag but it wasn’t knocked over meaning she avoided a penalty. Emma Gilmour followed the Spanish racer closely and dived up the inside with a handful of corners to go. The New Zealander took the checkered flag but was demoted to 4th immediately after crossing the line thanks to the 10 second time penalty.
This gave Team X44 their first win of the year, last winning at the Jurassic X-Prix in season 1. Chip Ganassi were initially classified second before a time penalty dropped them off the podium into fourth. Acciona Sainz were given second instead with McLaren taking the last step of the podium. Despite losing out on victory McLaren still walked away with the fastest Continental Traction Challenge time and 5 bonus points in the team’s championship.
Catie Munnings made the best start in the first 3 car semi-final of the Copper X-Prix. However, on the run to turn 1 it was Laia Sanz who was able to take the lead with Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinksy diving up the inside to take second. Through the opening bends the last placed Andretti United car had its screen covered in wet sand. Munnings slowed dramatically until she was able to put the windscreen wipers on but dropped some 9 seconds back.
Top qualifiers RXR couldn’t challenge Acciona Sainz out front on the first 2 laps. A slow driver changeover for the Spanish team though meant Johan Kristofferson emerged in the lead. He pulled clear while Timmy Hansen looked to make back the 9 second gap to Carlos Sainz. By race end he fell just short. Side by side over the line he was 0,3 seconds behind and the team were eliminated from the weekend. The team had won their Q2 race in part when 3 cars took the wrong line wide at the start.
The other semi-final was much tamer in comparison. Despite making the best initial launch Sara Price dropped to last at the start. X44 led from start to finish with ABT Cupra holding onto second. Klara Andersson, called up to replace the injured Jutta Kleinschmidt at the last minute then dropped down to last. However, the debutant was able to find a way past Price which let he teammate hold the last transfer spot all the way to the finish.
In a wild Crazy Race, as the name would imply there was action from start to finish. Gilmour took the lead initially with the only male starting driver, JBXE’s Kevin Hansen slotting into second. Gilmour ran wide at the end of lap 1 gifting Hansen the lead. He pulled a small margin before the handover to Hedda Hosas. Foust was quickly able to close and looked for a move before the end of lap 3.
The pair went side by side over a jump. As they landed the cars came together sending both flying off in different directions. Foust ran wide around the next gate. Hosas in the confusion followed Foust’s line to rejoin and also missed the gate. It was Xite Energy’s Timo Scheider who launched into second. That’s how the stayed until the finish but there were plenty of penalties to go around.
McLaren and JBXE both copped 5 second penalties for missing the way point. Xite received a 10 second penalty for hitting a marker over on lap 1 and for then hitting Veloce in the switch zone. Veloce Racing were the only team to avoid a penalty but were still classified last after Lance Woolridge ran wide and broken the right rear toe link. He finished but with a crabbing car. McLaren were classified first ahead of JBXE and Xite.
In the Driver’s standings it couldn’t be closer. Johan Kristofferson and Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky sit on 68. Gutierrez and Loeb are on 66 thanks to their victory in Chile with Sainz & Sanz another 6 points back. LeDuc and Price are still in with a realistic chance of the title only 13 points back from the RXR pairing.
The Team’s title is more clear cut with Rosberg X Racing 15 points further ahead in the points. The team has won 3 of the 4 traction challenges this year and are 17 points clear of Team X44. 25 points are available in the driver’s championship with a bonus 5 only given out to the teams. The final round will take place in Uruguay on 26th and 27th November as part of the Energy X-Prix.