Between the two of them, they have lots of bragging rights, like having won five Dakar Rallies for example. She’s the first and only woman to accomplish this feat, while he’s the reigning champion. Together they are the ABT CUPRA XE team, who will be driving the new CUPRA Tavascan XE in the global electric car race, very soon. The first round of the second Extreme E season is scheduled for this weekend, 18-20 February, in Neom (Saudi Arabia) where both legendary drivers will fight for a race win.
Here Jutta Kleinschmidt and Nasser Al-Attiyah are together for the first time, interviewing each other in a Q&A session just a few days before the start of their Extreme E adventure.
Jutta Kleinschmidt: Have you ever had a female race partner before?
Nasser Al-Attiyah: No, never. This will be my first time and I’m absolutely thrilled it’s with you. You’re the only woman to have won the Dakar Rally. Why do you think there haven’t been any others?
J.K.: That’s a really good question. The truth is I don’t know. Actually, I don’t even think there are enough women competing. And then, as you know, getting to the top is very difficult. But now I think Extreme E is a great opportunity, because each team is made up of a woman and a man and there are a lot of very skilled female racers. I think it’s fantastic. I’m sure we’ll see another woman win the Dakar Rally in the future. Another issue is age. The two of us aren’t exactly the youngest drivers in the competition - she laughs. Do you think our years of experience will be an advantage?
N.A.: We’re not the oldest either- he laughs. It doesn’t matter how old we are, because we’ll have fun and do our best for the team to win the Extreme E season. We have the experience and I’m sure we can do it. Last year you signed with CUPRA mid-season, what was that like?
J.K.: It was a real surprise because I was the reserve driver, and I couldn’t wait for the chance to get behind the wheel. And then it finally came, so it was fantastic. There are some great drivers here. Who do you think we need to keep a close eye on this season?
N.A.: Every one of them! Especially maybe Sebastien Loeb, who’s very fast, and his team-mate Cristina Gutiérrez, but I’ve no doubt we’re the strongest in the competition. How did an engineer like you end up racing as a driver?
J.K.: My dream was always to take part in the competition; even as an engineer I was obsessed with race cars.
N.A.: I didn’t know that, it’s fantastic. Also, we’re lucky, because as Extreme E is allowing so few staff, now we have an additional engineer! - he laughs.
J.K.: And you, as well as being a race driver, you’ve also participated in the Olympic Games in skeet shooting and even won a bronze medal. That’s incredible!
N.A.: Yes, it was a dream come true to win a bronze medal and to participate six times in the Olympic Games - a great challenge! Speaking of challenges, competing in this series with the CUPRA Tavascan XE is another one. What do you think of our car?
J.K.: I think it’s a spectacular car, because the design is very powerful.
N.A.: We’re lucky, aren’t we?
J.K.: Yes, very lucky. We have the most beautiful car in the championship.
N.A.: And your other teammate... What do you think of him?
J.K.: I’m very happy that we’re together. A four-time Dakar champion! What a dream! We’re the “dream team”.
CUPRA has been part of Extreme E from the outset. It was the first automotive brand to announce its participation, joining forces with ABT Sportsline as the team’s main partner and it’s now ready to take on the challenge of the new season.
It’s also in CUPRA’s nature to compete with an unstoppable impulse to reach the top, and that is exactly how we will approach this season. After a solid start last year, the whole team is focused on achieving more podiums and race wins this year.
Extreme E’s second season will take it to five unique world destinations including Antofagasta (Chile) or Punta del Este (Uruguay). The competition's global voyage will take advantage of its international platform to promote electrification, sustainability, and equality.
The new season kicks-off this weekend, 18-20 February in Neom (Saudi Arabia).
First and only female driver to win the Dakar Rally in 2001
2nd season with the CUPRA ABT XE team
4-time Dakar Rally champion (2011, 2015, 2019, 2022)
Olympic bronze medallist in skeet shooting in London 2012
CUPRA TAVASCAN XE
100% electric SUV
54 kWh battery
0 to 100 km/h in 4 seconds
THE EXTREME E ELECTRIC COMPETITION
1st race in Neom (Saudi Arabia) 18-20 February
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