German driver Claudia Hurtgen walked away from a major crash in the opening session of Extreme E qualifying.
The brand new motorsport series, featuring teams run by Lewis Hamilton, Nico Rosberg and Jenson Button, kicked off in the AlUla desert of Saudi Arabia on Saturday morning, the first of five global races as electric SUVs take on extreme environments from the Arctic to the Amazon.
Each of the nine teams are comprised of one male driver and one female driver, who complete one lap each of the 9km circuit to register a team time ahead of Sunday’s semi-finals and final.
The seventh team to take to the sand, Hurtgen took the first lap for her ABT Cupre XE before Swedish teammate Mattias Ekstrom. But the run didn’t last long as she lost control on a section of rutted sand, rolling the car five times in a horrifying moment which silenced the control centre, where her team were watching on.
The session was red flagged as medics attended the scene. Hurtgen emerged from the vehicle several minutes later and was taken for further assessment, where she reported no injury beyond biting her tongue. The session restarted soon afterwards.
Hurtgen, 49, raced in Formula 3 in the 90s before a crash damaged her hands and ended her F3 career. She turned to touring cars and raced in Le Mans, finishing third in 1998.
Molly Taylor and Johan Kristoffersson (Rosberg X Racing) led the way in the early standings with a time of 10.43.565, five seconds clear of rally legend Sebastien Loeb and his X44 teammate Cristina Gutierrez.
Britain’s Jamie Chadwick did not get the chance to drive in the first qualifying session after her teammate Stephane Sarrazin went out first and crashed. Fellow British driver Catie Munnings survived a burst tyre to complete her lap and sits fourth with Andretti teammate Timmy Hansen.
Desert X-Prix Qualifying 1 results
1. Rosberg Extreme Racing (Johan Kristoffersson/Molly Taylor) 10:43.56
2. X44 (Sebastien Loeb/Cristina Gutierrez) 10:48.067
3. Acciona Sainz (Carlos Sainz/Laia Sanz) 11:16.231
4. Andretti United Extreme E (Catie Munnings/Timmy Hansen) 11:31.603
5. JBXE (Jenson Button/Mikaela Ahlin-Kottulinsky) 12:22.426
6. Hispano Suiza Xite (Christine Giampoli Zonca/Oliver Bennett) 13:09.038
7. Chip Ganassi Racing (Kyle LeDuc/Sara Price) 13:33.674
8. ABT Cupra (Mattias Ekstrom/Claudia Huertgen) DNF
9. Veloce Racing Extreme E (Stephane Sarrazin/Jamie Chadwick) DNF