Kleinschmidt to replace Hurtgen for full XE season at Abt

The Abt Cupra Extreme E team has called up series reserve driver Jutta Kleinschmidt for the remainder of the season after her star performance in Senegal to replace Claudia Hurtgen.

Kleinschmidt to replace Hurtgen for full XE season at Abt

Kleinschmidt, who in 2001 became the first and so far only female driver to win the Dakar Rally, will partner two-time DTM champion Mattias Ekstrom for the remaining three rounds.

The 58-year-old German, making a professional front-line comeback for the first time since 2016 after myriad amateur rally outings, deputised for Hurtgen last time out in Senegal.

She impressed hugely during qualifying, combining with Ekstrom to set the second- and third-fastest times across the two sessions, to progress into the first semi-final.

But the duo failed to reach the final after a driver change over communication error meant the car fell from first to last in the heat after Kleinschmidt could not see when to rejoin.

Kleinschmidt said: “I’m really looking forward to this new challenge, the preparation with the ABT team and of course to work with Mattias.

“At first, I followed the series from the organisers’ point of view, then I got a spontaneous drive and now, together with Mattias, I’m actually a permanent member of the family of drivers. I’m very happy for the chance to compete at the highest level again.”

Kleinschmidt was called up on the Friday evening of the Senegal event to replace Hurtgen after the former Helmut Marko protégé was sidelined with serious food poisoning from shrimp.

Autosport understands she was then flown back to Germany and required a week-long stay in hospital after contracting a viral or bacterial infection.

This followed her dramatic outing in the inaugural event in Saudi Arabia when Hurtgen was involved in two massive shunts that caused terminal chassis damage to the car.

Claudia Hurtgen, Mattias Ekstrom, ABT CUPRA XE

Claudia Hurtgen, Mattias Ekstrom, ABT CUPRA XE

Photo by: Zak Mauger / Motorsport Images

Hurtgen said: “This high time commitment is unfortunately not compatible at the moment with my professional work at BMW, which I live for with the same passion.

“I’m very grateful for the experiences that I’ve had within the Extreme E family and wish ABT, Cupra and Jutta only the very best for the next races.”

Ekstrom, who made a point of telling team members only to eat rice and bread in Senegal, added: “accidents in Saudi Arabia, a spontaneous driver change in Senegal - it’s time for us to now have a smooth weekend.

“We will thoroughly review the season so far, prepare more intensively than ever and try to make a fresh start in Greenland.”

“Having [Kleinschmidt] in the team is also something special for me. I’m looking forward to the collaboration and her cumulative experience, which will serve us well in Extreme E.”

The season continues with an event in Greenland across 28-29 August, when Kleinschmidt will celebrate her birthday, but two further race locations are to be confirmed.

This follows the double cancellation of the Brazil and season-final Argentina rounds owing to the COVID-19 situation in South America that forced Extreme E to abandon its course recces.

shares
comments

Related video

Motorsport Images and Extreme E partnership enjoys stunning start
Previous article

Motorsport Images and Extreme E partnership enjoys stunning start

Next article

Extreme E outlines the 10 countries it's assessing for replacement rounds

Extreme E outlines the 10 countries it's assessing for replacement rounds
Why McLaren has taken its unprecedented off-road left turn Plus

Why McLaren has taken its unprecedented off-road left turn

McLaren will be in distinctly unfamiliar territory this weekend as it makes its Extreme E debut. But this rugged left turn serves as a means to an end to inspire a greater good

Extreme E
Feb 18, 2022
How motorsport’s new eco series fared in its debut season Plus

How motorsport’s new eco series fared in its debut season

A brand new motorsport series with a disruptive credo will inevitably suffer teething problems. But the electric off-road series put on a spectacular show in its debut season and laid a positive foundation for the future, if manufacturers decide to follow suit

Extreme E
Jan 5, 2022
How Rosberg triumphed over Hamilton in 2021's final showdown Plus

How Rosberg triumphed over Hamilton in 2021's final showdown

The last hurrah of the 2021 motorsport season boiled down to another Nico Rosberg versus Lewis Hamilton head-to-head. As in 2016, it was the former who won out, his RXR Extreme E team prevailing in a tiebreaker following a tense final round of the all-electric off-road series at Dorset's muddy Bovington military base

Extreme E
Dec 20, 2021
How technical troubles detracted from Extreme E's Sardinia encounter Plus

How technical troubles detracted from Extreme E's Sardinia encounter

Extreme E has provided thrilling plot lines in its inaugural season, but numerous mechanical failures on the ODYSSEY 21 have detracted from the closely fought battles across various terrains. Sardinia's Island X-Prix set up a championship finale, but also underlined what Spark must do to fix the car for next season

Extreme E
Oct 26, 2021
How Extreme E’s Arctic adventure gave a chilly reminder of the fixes to find Plus

How Extreme E’s Arctic adventure gave a chilly reminder of the fixes to find

Extreme E’s third round provided the very definition of extreme conditions in the Artic Circle, and despite settling on a successful format and Andretti United taking a maiden win, there remains plenty of work to do with the spec cars that froze in action

Extreme E
Aug 30, 2021
Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved Plus

Why McLaren’s surprise electric path can benefit everyone involved

McLaren's announcement that it will enter the Extreme E series for electric SUVs next year came as something of a surprise. But it brings benefits that other championships it could seek to enter cannot, while providing a timely boost to a start-up that has had to cancel two of its South American rounds

Extreme E
Jun 13, 2021
Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential Plus

Why Extreme E's Senegal round hints at the series' true potential

Extreme E's second round on the sands of Senegal refined some the more clunky aspects of the series' debut event in Saudi Arabia. Even though its star-studded finale between Lewis Hamilton's X44 team and Rosberg X Racing proved anticlimactic, the pieces are in place for the series to only get better

Extreme E
Jun 1, 2021
The key area where a start-up series is outdoing F1 Plus

The key area where a start-up series is outdoing F1

While there are those – including several major car manufacturers – who think Formula E has had its day, FE founder Alejandro Agag is continuing to innovate with the new Extreme E series. MARK GALLAGHER sees one element in which it has Formula 1 beaten

Extreme E
May 26, 2021