HomeCar CultureExtreme E meets extreme weather on Sardinia

Extreme E meets extreme weather on Sardinia

Italian island baked all summer turns into muddy mess on final day of competition


Extreme E is the off-road racing series that not only showcases the capabilities of electric vehicles but the impact of climate change on a variety of environments. In its inaugural 2021 season, it has raced across the Saudi desert, along the beach in Senegal, near retreating glaciers in Greenland, and most recently on the Italian island of Sardinia, which has been baked this year by high temperatures and devastated by wildfires.

“In the Mediterranean alone,” the series noted as it arrived on the island, “it will take at least 15 years to rebuild the woods and the trees destroyed by the flames that have reached pastures, olive trees, sheds, barns with fodder stocks and agricultural vehicles, and killed animals including 30 million bees — and represent a calamity costing incalculable damage to agriculture in over 20,000 hectares burned.”

And so, of course, it rained on the racers.

“It was pretty slippery out there,” said Molly Taylor, who with fellow driver Johan Kristoffersson won for the third time this season in the Rosberg X Racing car.

With the rain, she said, “It was just trying to manage the risk and I think that is what we did really well.”

Seth Quintero
Seth Quintero gets acclimated to the cockpit of Lewis Hamilton’s electric off-road racing car

After the race weekend, the series offered teams an opportunity to stay over for test sessions, one for rookie drivers and the other to evaluate the Continental tires planned for the 2022 season. Each team could invite two new drivers — one male, one female — to experience the Odyssey 21 racing vehicles used in the series.

Among the rookies taking part were 21-year-old Swedish Rallycross 2150-class champion Klara Andersson (Saintz XE team), 19-year-old Californian Seth Quintero, the youngest winner of a state of the Dakar Rally (Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team), and Italian rally driver Tamara Molinaro (Rosberg X Racing).

“I’ve never driven an electric car before, so hopping in this and not really having an experience was honestly quite the treat,” Quintero was quoted in a series news release. “To come off the start and having full torque all the time is pretty fun and being able to hear your team manager on the radio is nice too — it’s nice and quiet in there.

“I think Extreme E is a rad concept. Obviously they are travelling around the world and really trying to shed light on what is going on, whether it is global warming or something else, it is cool to see. There are not a lot of motorsports trying to do that. Obviously motorsports are going to hurt the planet a little bit, and it is nice to see that we are trying to change that.”

American drivers Sara Price and /Kyle Leduc race for the Chip Ganassi team(
Until the rain came, the course was clouded as the cars ran over the sun-baked landscape

After two events on the schedule were canceled because of ongoing coronavirus outbreaks, the Extreme E season ends December 18-19 with the Jurassic X Prix at Dorset, England.

Larry Edsall
Larry Edsall
A former daily newspaper sports editor, Larry Edsall spent a dozen years as an editor at AutoWeek magazine before making the transition to writing for the web and becoming the author of more than 15 automotive books. In addition to being founding editor at ClassicCars.com, Larry has written for The New York Times and The Detroit News and was an adjunct honors professor at the Walter Cronkite School of Journalism and Mass Communication at Arizona State University.


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