ExtremeE/Unfinished Business: Sébastien Loeb is back with ABT CUPRA again

They were already among the fastest teams on Sardinia in almost every session in July, but in the end still had to travel home without a trophy after plenty of bad luck – now Klara Andersson and Sébastien Loeb are attacking together once again: The reigning Extreme E champion and record world rally champion will return to the ABT CUPRA XE team and alongside the Swede for the second appearance of the series in Italy next weekend (16 and 17 September). Goal: a winner’s trophy.

« We are very happy that Seb is part of our team again, » says ABT CEO and Team Principal Thomas Biermaier. « We are all having great fun working together, but at the same time it also feels a bit like ‘Unfinished Business’, because Klara and Seb were clearly among the candidates for victory in July with their strong performances. Now they get a second chance in the new edition in Sardinia, which they are determined to make the most of. » Loeb is again standing in for five-time Dakar Rally winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, who contested the first two weekends in Saudi Arabia and Scotland.

The venue for the Island X Prix, which consists of two separate race days on Saturday and Sunday, is once again the NATO training area near Porto Pino in south-west Sardinia, as in the past two years and as in July. ABT CUPRA XE had recently experienced its best weekend in 2023 so far with a victory in the small final on Sunday and a narrowly missed podium finish the day before. In all sessions, Klara Andersson and Sébastien Loeb were among the fastest, but were robbed of the “big points” by bad luck and punctures through no fault of their own.

New and therefore unfamiliar to all the drivers is the layout of the track, which has again been modified. Each race thus consists of four laps, two per driver. The race days on Saturday and Sunday will start at 9:30 a.m. local time with qualifying, followed by the two final races from 4:15 p.m. onwards. A list of all the channels broadcasting the guest race in Italy can be found here: www.extreme-e.com.

Klara Andersson: « Track is fun, but unforgiving »
« I’m super excited to return to Sardinia with Seb by my side, » says Klara Andersson, who also competes in the World Rallycross Championship this year. « We put in a really strong performance last time, but punctures and some bad luck with the grid positions stood between us and the trophies. We are hungry to come back and will give everything to be successful. » Even though the layout is changed for the two rounds, Klara Andersson likes the location. « I like the track in Sardinia because it is fun, but also very unforgiving. The event in July showed that the surface suits both Seb and me very well. »

Sébastien Loeb: « Want to do better this time »
Sébastien Loeb is returning to the team after a surprise stint in July. « It’s great to be back in Sardinia with ABT and CUPRA for two more races, » says the nine-time World Rally Champion. « I’m really looking forward to meeting Klara and the team again, because I have very good memories of the last time. We didn’t get the results we expected and probably deserved, so we’ll do our best to do better this time. »

Spectacular design for the CUPRA Tavascan XE
The current season sees the team’s car sporting an updated livery to match the team’s Formula E car, the UrbanRebel and CUPRA e-Racer: a multi-layered and chameleon-like body colour that combines a deep purple and neon yellow. The all-electric off-road racer hints at the design language of the future Tavascan production car, the brand’s second all-electric model, which is being developed in Barcelona and will be launched in Europe and overseas in 2024.

Even more racing, even more excitement
Extreme E presents itself with spectacular regulations in 2023: Two separate races will be held each weekend on Saturday and Sunday. This means that the third season will consist of five double-header events with a total of ten races. In addition, there will be even more racing action in qualifying instead of a single time trial. In detail: a Friday with two free practice sessions will be followed by two independent race days. The first and second qualifying sessions in the morning will each consist of two races in which five cars will compete against each other. This is where the participants for the ‘Grand Final’ (top 5) and the ‘Redemption Race’ (positions 6 to 10) will be determined.

GridPlay: How fans can support ABT CUPRA XE
The starting positions for the ‘Grand Final’ are determined by fan voting. Fans can vote twice daily on the Extreme E website. The teams that do not make it to the ‘Grand Final’ will give their votes to their preferred team. Starting positions for the ‘Redemption Race’ will be determined by the results of the qualifying sessions, with the sixth-placed team voting first.