LONDON: Extreme E’s floating centrepiece, the St. Helena, on Wednesday arrived in Saudi Arabia in preparation for the championship’s first event of its second season in NEOM — the Desert X Prix — on Feb. 19-20.
The cars and series’ equipment left Poole Harbour in Dorset, UK, following December’s Jurassic X Prix, which saw Rosberg X Racing seal the championship win in a dramatic season finale. The St. Helena then made her way east towards Saudi Arabia.
After collecting provisions and changing crew, the former Royal Mail Ship departed the UK at the start of January, carrying with it Extreme E’s race freight. Over the past weeks the St. Helena has travelled across the Mediterranean to Port Said in Egypt before passing through the Suez Canal to reach Dubai where it is docked for the Desert X Prix.
On arrival in Dubai, the crew had changed time zones three times, before eventually settling on Arabian Standard Time (GMT+3). Now the team on the St. Helena will spend the next few days unloading the freight on board as preparations and anticipation builds for the first race of Season 2 in a few weeks’ time.
The freight includes the all-electric ODYSSEY 21 race cars — with the addition this season of a McLaren XE outfit — the AFC Energy system including solar panels and hydrogen fuel cell to generate power for the cars emission free, two Zenobe second-life batteries to power the paddock, plus everything else required to create a race site in remote locations without event infrastructure. This will now be set up in NEOM — an area surrounded by stunning expansive red sands, spectacular sandstone formations and historic wall art from civilisations millennia ago.
Extreme E is racing in Saudi Arabia as the desertification there epitomises the challenges of the global climate crisis and the importance of regreening and encouraging resilient ecosystems. The series will use its sporting platform to educate its audiences on these issues and possible solutions.
Alejandro Agag, CEO and founder of Extreme E, said: “It’s certainly been a busy start to the year but also a very rewarding one. We’re proud that Extreme E is now preparing for a second season of our championship after such a successful 2021.
“We are so excited to be beginning another season in Saudi Arabia. We’ve visited some incredible places so far — Senegal, Greenland, Sardinia and the Jurassic Coast in the UK — and the landscape in NEOM is equally as amazing. There’s no doubt that it’s going to be challenging for the cars and the drivers, but I’m sure they can’t wait to take on the sands of Saudi Arabia once again.”