But it’s just as well for her that she has had some time to recover. “Timmy told me you have to prepare your arms, because there’s no power steering in these things, so I didn’t want to complain about it,” she says. “But it was really heavy. I could barely turn it; I had to yank it round. Then they realised at the end of the first day that it was actually broken…”
Munnings and Hansen had been confident coming into the first Extreme E round on the back of a decent test in December. But with such a step into the unknown for all nine teams competing in the inaugural season of the electric SUV series, she was “over the moon” for Andretti United to come away from Saudi with second place.
A former children’s TV presenter, Munnings was never likely to be overawed by the wide exposure that Extreme E attracted in the UK (thanks to its blanket coverage across ITV, the BBC, BT Sport and Sky Sports). However, she’s well aware of the opportunity Extreme E presents, and not only for her personally.
“It’s amazing coverage for an off-road sport,” she says. “We had prime-time TV on Easter Sunday. What I noticed is that I’ve driven with loads of punctures on rally stages, but this time I had great feedback from a mainstream audience who hadn’t seen that before. Rally coverage is niche, so for the sport to have that exposure to an audience more used to circuit racing is cool. I’m excited to be a part of it.
“I signed up before all the high-calibre top drivers did; I was in right at the beginning. To see them coming in was cool and quite intimidating at the same time. But as Timmy says, everyone has got a steering wheel and two pedals, and we know how to handle that.”
Senegal will bite
Munnings and Hansen face a complete reset for Senegal, as do all their rivals, because one of the key aspects of Extreme E is that teams face each event essentially blind. They’re given only a cursory amount of information about the beach-based course they will race on this weekend. So what do you know, Catie?
“That there are going to be loads of mosquitoes and we’ve been told to have lots of jabs!” she replies. “We’re starting on the beach, so hopefully the sand will be heavier and we won’t get so much dust. Apparently it goes into a bit more of a narrow, twisty gravel track, compared with what we saw in Saudi. So I guess it will be slower, but there should be more racing action with more options for different lines. It won’t be so fast and wide open.