Extreme E – Saudi Arabia
With the Desert X Prix in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, just days away, the Championship is pleased to reveal another exciting course bringing the 10 teams and 20 world-class drivers a new set of challenges for the Season 2 opener.
The 6.9km course in NEOM offers breathtaking backdrops, stunning rock formations and of course plenty of gradient changes. In stark contrast to the 2021 Desert X Prix in Al’Ula, this race weekend will feature a launch off the start that is all uphill and takes the drivers across the lower part of the valley floor.
The first way point sits between two rock formations at the top of a short, but steep, incline as they head towards the first sharp direction change as the cars start their descent to the middle of the valley floor.
Dust will be a factor here, but the width of the valley offers more than enough room to duck out of anything being lifted by the car in front, allowing the drivers to stay on full throttle. On what will be a fast course, the drivers are likely to be pushing the upgraded ODYSSEY 21 to the max for much of the lap.
Another steep climb takes the cars up to the first of two technical sections as they briefly climb on top of the edge of a rock formation, before a sharp right-hand turn at the farthest point of the course. A steep but spectacular descent through the heavy red sand brings the cars onto the flat of the second valley floor, before a short climb over another hill opens up to a wide and inviting section of the course where a myriad of racing lines will tempt the drivers to overtake.
Into the last quarter of the course and the drivers will be full throttle for a blast up the steepest incline in deep sand that will certainly use up some energy from the battery. At the top of the hill, the drivers turn a sharp right and over a blind crest, hitting a steep descent towards the penultimate waypoint – a tight 90-degree left hander.
Once again into the deep red sand, the cars will be working hard and powering up the last long run to the final waypoint. Depending on strategy, some drivers could use Hyperdrive here to catch the car in front as it struggles up the hill, but they’ll need to hang on as they go blind into the final turn at ninety-degrees and into a breathtakingly steep drop on the other side. The drivers will have to trust their skill and judgement as they fly down the steepest descent on the course, bottoming out just before crossing the finish line.
The Desert X Prix takes place this weekend (19-20 February) and can be watched via a host of global broadcasters available to view here. In the Middle East, the series airs on MBC Action, Dubai Sports, SSC, beIN and W Sport.