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NEOM McLaren Extreme E Team look to Brazil in September after struggles in Sardinia

Off the back of a podium finish at the Hydro X Prix in Scotland in May, the NEOM McLaren Extreme E team were keen to build on their upward momentum, but after Tanner Foust and Emma Gilmour struggled at the Island X Prix in Sardinia in early July, attention now turns to the next race in Brazil in September.

There were several problem areas in Sardinia which they will attempt to correct as the remainder of the season looms. They are also hoping to have more luck on their side.

After a difficult free practice, they were disqualified for weighing in under the minimum allowance, and they were up against it in rounds five and six of season three, which took place on the island.

In the first qualifying heat of round five, Foust enjoyed a fierce battle with No.99 GMC Hummer EV Chip Ganassi Racing’s RJ Anderson, but a subsequent puncture as a result of damage to the team’s ODYSSEY 21 dropped them down to fifth place.

A slow start from Gilmour in heat two left NEOM McLaren Extreme E with it all to do and although Foust managed to get ahead of JBXE’s Andreas Bakkerud on his run, fourth in the heat was not enough to secure a spot in the Grand Final.

An appearance in the Redemption Race ensued, with NEOM McLaren Extreme E taking second, and thus seventh overall, after a four-lap battle with Carl Cox Motorsport and X44 Vida Carbon Racing.

On round five, Gilmour said: “It was a tough day and we didn’t have luck on our side. The car was quick and the team has been working hard on ensuring it is. There were definitely positives in the day, but the results unfortunately don’t reflect that. There was good racing from Tanner (Foust) and myself in the Redemption Race as well, and finishing that in P2 (position two) was good, but other than that I think we were disappointed with the results.”

Foust added: “We tried every option and I think we made good decisions along the way. However, it wasn’t enough for us to get into the Grand Final.

“In the Redemption Race, we found a little bit of redemption with a second-place finish, which gets us some valuable points, but that’s not where we ultimately want to be.”

Unfortunately for the team, round six in Sardinia would not yield a finish higher up the order – missing out on a spot in the Grand Final by just two points after their heat scores were added together.

In qualifying one, NEOM McLaren Extreme E secured a credible third place. Foust once again fought hard against fellow countryman Anderson to run third at the driver change. New Zealander Gilmour then took the wheel, and showed excellent race craft to keep a charging Bakkerud at bay in his JBXE ODYSSEY 21 to keep position.

Despite this strong start, a retirement in heat two ensured a second Redemption Race for them – where Foust and Gilmour could only manage fourth and ninth overall from round six.

After a hard-fought Island X Prix, they will look to get their championship back on track in the remaining races of season three.

Foust said: “I would say a very long weekend in Sardinia comes to an end. Our only real weakness was our start – and unfortunately for us, on this course, as on a lot of Extreme E tracks, the start is really important for the final result. If you are not able to get out as one of the leading cars, then you find yourself fighting for positions and visibility for the rest of the race.

“Our pace around the track was good. I think we overtook well, which is promising, but almost bittersweet, as we were not able to convert that into good results. We will be focusing on the work needed ahead of the next round.”

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