A daredevil feminine rally driver participating in an excessive motorsport “experiment” alongside stars together with ex-System One world champion Jenson Button has suffered a large crash, flipping her automobile into the air at immense pace.
Effectively-known German racer Claudia Hurtgen, whose German System Three profession ended when she suffered hand accidents after her automobile rolled over in the course of the Monaco Grand Prix weekend in 1993, was competing within the first qualifying stage of the brand new Excessive E occasion.
Racing in an electrical SUV, the 49-year-old former American Le Mans, Daytona 24-Hours and Le Mans 24-Hours class winner flipped within the air at excessive pace on a slim a part of the sand, sending her automobile flying into the air in a sequence of terrifying flips that many viewers instantly feared might have been life-threatening.
“The entrance suspension is damaged,” shouted a surprised commentator who was broadcasting stay from the hair-raising motion.
“Simply as we had been saying there was all to play for, it is gone unsuitable. Pink flag instantly.”
Extremely, courageous Hurtgen regarded unscathed and appeared extra involved by whether or not she would be capable of compete on Sunday in an interview clip printed shortly after her brush with destiny.
“I am again within the pit,” mentioned Hurtgen, who completed fifth on the Nurburgring 24-Hours in 2006 after driving two vehicles for a complete of 11 hours. “I am superb, I am OK. I hope the automobile might be recovered for tomorrow.”
Followers responded with aid, shock and assist. “Coronary heart-in-mouth second,” one social media account devoted to feminine racers wrote.
“We had been very relieved to see Hurtgen strolling away from the automobile.”
Expertise group Niobium claimed credit score for the crash ending with out casualties, explaining on social media that that they had designed a near-unbreakable chassis.
Button is likely one of the star names backing the race alongside the likes of fellow System One champion Nico Rosberg, who based the race, rallying legend Carlos Sainz and His Royal Highness Prince Khalid bin Sultan Al Faisal, the Chair of the Saudi Car and Motor Federation.
“It’s actually excessive,” mentioned Button, who completed fifth as one of many mixed-gender duos forming the groups taking to the terrain.
“You’re enjoying with the steering wheel the entire time and the course is insane. I’ve completed a little bit of off-roading earlier than in a rally automobile, however nothing like this within the sand.
“It’s thrilling to be right here with so many nice groups and drivers from around the globe. It’s very particular to be part of this.”
Button admitted his Odyssey 21 automobile is “very totally different”. “I’ve by no means beforehand pushed 4 wheel-drive,” he confessed.
“It’s been nice to share the filth with these guys – though my world championship clearly got here on asphalt, so it’s been a little bit of a shock.”
The course crosses greater than 11 miles round three canyons in an unlimited desert surrounding town of AlUla within the north-west of the nation.
Alejandro Agag, the boss of Excessive E, branded the race “superb”. “I name Excessive E the most important experiment ever seen in motorsport, and this weekend is sort of a check and race all on the similar time,” he mentioned.
“Should you add up all of the world championships on the grid amongst drivers and staff homeowners, there are greater than 40 in whole.
“Then we’ve got the gender equality side…it’s unbelievable, and these electrical SUVs are going to placed on an important present.
“Excessive E was such an out-of-the-box concept that many individuals didn’t suppose it will ever occur – even I didn’t know if we’d [make it happen].
“In these COVID occasions, it will have been inconceivable to prepare this occasion with out the unbelievable assist of our hosts and our groups, and I have to thank Saudi Arabia for welcoming us.”