Extreme E organizers promise whole new experience for drivers, audience as ‘Star Wars pod racing meets Dakar Rally’ in AlUla
Inaugural race will see fans help determine Desert X Prix finals’ grid positions through GridPlay
ALULA: Extreme E’s first race weekend, the Desert X Prix, gets under starter’s orders on Saturday in AlUla and a bumper field of teams and drivers are all set for an epic journey likened by organizers to “Star Wars pod racing meets Dakar Rally.”
Alejandro Agag, the founder and CEO of Extreme E, said he could not put into words how proud and excited he was about staging the event.
“A huge amount of hard work under unprecedented circumstances has gone on behind the scenes to get this revolutionary racing series together and I can’t wait to see some of the biggest names in motorsport go head-to-head in just a few days.
“But Extreme E isn’t just a race for a trophy, it is about something much bigger, the race for our planet is real and there is no finish line in sight.
“I’m delighted that we will reveal our all-important Legacy Program here in Saudi Arabia later this week. Through the power of sport, we look forward to highlighting some of the environmental challenges the world is facing, and the solutions we can all take,” he added.
On Saturday, April 3 nine teams will take part in four qualifying rounds, each lasting 15 minutes, with the top four advancing to the first semi-final and the remaining five going through to the second semi – the Crazy Race – both of which will take place on Sunday.
The three teams topping the leaderboard in the first semi, and the first and second-placed in the Crazy Race will progress to the final later that same day, with the winning driver pairing taking overall victory to lift the very first Extreme E trophy.
Each of the teams’ two drivers – one male and one female – will complete a lap before the Switch, and teams can choose which driver goes first. The course is centered around three canyons in the vast desert which surrounds AlUla. The full course layout will be revealed on Friday.
Fans can get involved via GridPlay, which puts the starting line-up for the Desert X Prix final in their hands. From March 31 until 60 minutes after the start of the Crazy Race on Sunday, fans will be able to vote twice per day via the Extreme E website and on Twitter using #GridPlay #DriverName for their favorite driver, with the votes added together to complete the team standings.
The teams that do not reach the concluding race have an important role to play too, in gifting their votes to a team of their choice, so every vote really will count. And the team with the most votes will then be able to select its starting position for the Desert X Prix final, followed by the team with the second-most votes and so on.
To minimize local impact, Extreme E races will not be open to spectators, with fans instead invited to follow the action through live TV broadcasts on KSA Sports and MBC, and across social media via @SAMF_GOV, @GSAKSA, and @ExtremeELive.