An effect of global warming? The competition in the Extreme E electric-powered off-road racing series heated up this past weekend, and of all places in Greenland, as Andretti United ended Rosberg X Racing’s winning streak.
Rosberg teammates Johan Kristoffersson and Molly Taylor had won in Saudi Arabia and Senegal, but things were — quite literally — different in Greenland. For one thing, temperatures were unseasonably warm. For another, this would be the first motorsports event on the huge island; for yet another, 5 cars would qualify for the final race.
One thing not changing was the series’ commitment to drawing attention to social and environmental issues. While on Greenland, the racers visited the Russell Glacier and installed a solar power grid for a school at Kangerlussuaq.
“I think it’s one of the most fun parts of the weekend to go to these amazing locations and to actually experience the Legacy Programs,” said racer Kevin Hansen. “When I go to a rallycross race, I just go to the location and I race and hopefully get a one-two with my brother, but to come here and see what it is actually around is so so nice – to see the reality of the world. We all hide in our bubbles but to actually go to the tough places and see the suffering is really important.”
At the end of the weekend, there was another change, the first victory by the Andretti United team in the inaugural Arctic X Prix. Andretti’s drivers were Hansen’s brother, Timmy, and Catie Munnings.
“I loved the challenge of this course,” said Munnings. “I think it was really different to what we’ve seen before and a new challenge for the car as well. I think what was interesting was that it literally changed every time you saw it. Every car would chuck out massive rocks and so your line might not be there so it was a very spontaneous style of driving and I also found it very hard to judge what the correct speed was, you have to think a lot more especially if you’re the first driver.”
The course was termed “unforgiving” by Extreme E officials.
“We are all living in this world and we all want to make a great future so I think closing your eyes to what’s happening is not the right way.” noted Mikaela Åhlin-Kottulinsky, Kevin Hansen’s teammate on Jensen Button’s runner-up JBXE car. “We all have to be open to see what is happening to the world and that is why Extreme E is trying new technologies and new ways to improve, we are all in this together and we all have to do this right.
“I think the fact that it is raining here in Greenland is as unusual as it would be in the desert and seeing how much rain we actually had this weekend is devastating so you can’t just close your eyes to it.
“I’d say the tough part was the different surfaces around the track and I’m speaking about the Rock Garden – that was very challenging.”