From Spain to Saudi Arabia: why Cupra is in Extreme E Car News

This is not a direct transfer of technology, but a learning of EV powertrains. Cupra’s first XE season got off to a bad start, with Claudia Hürtgen having a huge crash. This led to an impromptu driver change, and although the revised line-up of Jutta Kleinschmidt and Mattias Ekström (who won the 2021 ETCR title in a Leon) showed strong pace, reliability and setup issues meant that they’ve never quite matched the forward-lead Rosberg Xtreme and X44 teams.

Rather than be put off, Cupra has stepped up its efforts for 2022, taking advantage of XE rules allowing it to adapt its own bodywork. This task was carried out in-house by the road car design team, with design director Jorge Díez taking the opportunity to preview the upcoming Tavascan electric SUV.

Alongside this, multiple Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah has been signed to replace Ekström (who is focused on defending his ETCR title) alongside Kleinschmidt.

As expected, two Dakar winners showed plenty of pace in the season-opening Desert X-Prix, but things didn’t quite go to plan. Al-Attiyah accidentally entered the Switch zone instead of crossing the finish line during qualifying and was later involved in a controversial accident with his Dakar training partner Carlos Sainz in the second moto. This put Cupra in the Crazy Race, from which only one car qualifies for the final – and it came a close second behind the McLaren XE.

It was a frustrating start, but it didn’t dampen Cupra’s resolve. While some manufacturers would just throw more money or personnel at the problem, that’s not an option in Extreme E and that’s not what Cupra is there for.

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This notice was published: 2022-03-26 06:01:22

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