3 February 2022, London: ABT CUPRA XE have partnered two Dakar Rally legends for Extreme E Season 2, with four-time winner Nasser Al-Attiyah joining 2001 winner Jutta Kleinschmidt for the team’s bid for Championship glory.
Kleinschmidt, who partnered Mattias Ekström for four events during Extreme E’s inaugural campaign last term for ABT CUPRA XE, will be looking to build on the team’s fifth place in the Championship standings in Season 1 alongside new team-mate Al-Attiyah.
The German-Qatari duo’s ODYSSEY 21 will also be striking for Season 2 as the CUPRA Tavascan XE replaces the e-CUPRA ABT XE1 from the first season.
With its spectacular exterior and striking LED lights, the off-road racing car offers a first glimpse at the design specification of the future CUPRA Tavascan production car. CUPRA’s second purely electric model is being developed in Barcelona and is scheduled for market launch in 2024. The CUPRA Tavascan XE is more sustainable than its predecessor: flax fibre parts from the 3D printer make work on the car even more flexible and environmentally friendly.
Nasser Al-Attiyah, ABT CUPRA XE, said: “I’m already a bit excited and believe that this will be a great experience for me. Extreme E is an exciting series with the ambition to contribute to a better future.
“I am proud to be a part of the team now. Expectations are high: with the experience of ABT CUPRA XE and Jutta [Kleinschmidt] by my side, we are determined to race for victories. I can’t wait to sit in the car and have fun.”
Jutta Kleinschmidt, ABT CUPRA XE, said: “Last year we created a solid basis and fought for front positions. This year the challenge is to be even more consistent in taking wins and trophies, and we are ready for that.
“Being able to share my passion for off-road racing with such a great team and now a Dakar star like Nasser [Al-Attiyah] is fantastic motivation. I just want to start the season.”
Newcomer Al-Attiyah has seen great success during his time competing, becoming the 2006 Production World Rally Champion, WRC-2 Champion in 2014 and 2015, a 16-time Middle East Rally Champion, four times winner of the FIA World Cup for Cross-County Rallies, and a quadruple 2011, 2015, 2019, and 2022 Dakar Rally winner. His four victories in the Dakar Rally make him the only Middle Easterner to have won it more than once and the 51-year-old will prove an exciting addition to the Extreme E grid.
Kleinschmidt made her first appearance at the Dakar Rally in the bike category in 1988, but by 1994 she had switched to four wheels. Three years later she became the first woman to record a stage win and 1999 yielded a third place overall. In 2001, she wrote her name into the history books as the first female Dakar Rally winner. A further two podiums in 2002 and 2005 cemented her place as the most successful female driver in the category to date.
Having scored a podium finish at the Enel X Island X Prix and regularly finishing amongst the fastest qualifiers on the grid, ABT CUPRA XE will be looking to build upon their achievements in Season 1 with their new driver line-up and the pair of Dakar legends are sure to be competitive.
Hans-Jürgen Abt, Managing Partner of ABT Sportsline, said: “Of course we are a bit sad to let Mattias [Ekström] go. He did a great job in our team during the first season on and off the track and has been part of our family for 20 years – that won’t change, but of course we respect his priorities.
“With Jutta [Kleinschmidt] and Nasser [Al-Attiyah] we now have a new team at the start that is extremely strong again. Our goals remain the same: we want to fight for race wins and the title.”
The first race of the 2022 season will be held in NEOM, Saudi Arabia, on 19 and 20 February.
To learn more about Extreme E, visit – www.Extreme-E.com