Hamilton’s X44 team on their way to pole after Q1

The nine-time world rally champion and his regular Dakar rally teammate were sort of the class of the peloton on Saturday morning at NATO base Teulada as they soared to the pinnacle of times with their combined race of 11m05.105s to lead by more than 12 seconds.

As happened on Friday during practice, a high attrition rate impacted all nine teams.

The points-leading Rosberg X Racing crew suffered a rollover while Andretti United rider Timmy Hansen lost his shoulder three times as he battled a power steering failure.

In a very slow start to the first of two qualifying laps, the first three crews all suffered incidents, with the retirement of Xite Energy Racing and Chip Ganassi Racing on the track.

Three-time world rallycross champion Johan Kristoffersson was the first driver to complete the 4.37 mile course behind the wheel of his RXR machine before handing over to Taylor.

But for the second race in a row, the Australian rally champion rode before landing standing up and being able to complete her course in spectacular fashion.

The winner of the Saudi Arabia and Senegal Extreme E event raced sideways over a ridge and as the Odyssey 21 skidded off the open race line and into deeper unused dirt, the wheels sunk and she tipped over.

Taylor, whose slip was likely initiated by hitting a rock that forced the steering wheel into his hands, was able to land on the wheels and continue with only rear body damage.

She brought the entry home with a benchmark of 11m37.557s before Chip Ganassi Racing’s race was over after just the fourth of 28 gates on Sara Price’s lap with a suspension failure.

Team USA’s searing fortune continued when the rear of the car was disturbed by a series of ridges and Price cut a marker indicating a boulder.

Kyle Leduc, Chip Ganassi Racing

Photo By: Andrew Ferraro / Motorsport images

Price grabbed the hidden rock to cause the left back corner to collapse and she retreated in place to leave teammate Kyle Leduc without a run.

Next on the course was Xite Energy Racing, who also had to give up a flying race when Christine Giampaoli Zonca suffered a break in direction during her race.

The car’s setup seemed far from the mark as she and her teammate Bennett were disturbed by bumps before the link finally gave way and forcing the right front wheel to bend.

This preceded the X44 entry, which again did not go without drama.

Free-time orthodontist Gutierrez lost the rear and sped through the bushes in the narrow section of the ‘super sector’, but was able to continue before handing over to a quick Loeb.

His single lap of 4.25.503s was comfortably the fastest to give the team an initial 32s advantage over RXR in an effort that Loeb told Motorsport.com he felt he wouldn’t be able to. to match.

The duo would remain in the lead when Andretti United’s Hansen hit a small bump early in his lap to trigger the latest in a series of electric power steering failures for the grid.

The extra forces exacerbated a pre-existing injury and his shoulder popped out three times before he entered the driver change area to hand over to teammate Catie Munnings.

Munnings reset the systems to fix the issue for his trouble-free run to score seventh.

Carlos Sainz, two-time WRC champion and three-time Dakar rally winner, battled the swinging rear bodywork before passing Acciona Sainz’s entrance to Laia Sanz to secure second place, as they pulled away combined for a passage of 11m17.388 – 12.283s adrift of the X44.

Kevin Hansen and Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky led Jenson Button’s JBXE car to fifth place behind the fastest third round of the Veloce Racing race of Stéphane Sarrazin and Emma Gilmour, the latter replacing W Series driver Jamie Chadwick.

Last to run, Jutta Kleinschmidt, newly crowned Pure ETCR champion of Abt Cupra and winner of the 2001 Dakar Rally, achieved the fourth fastest time.


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