Quali shunts put paid to Maserati qualifying and Guenther's race

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Quali shunts put paid to Maserati qualifying and Guenther's race

It was a disastrous day in the Diriyah desert for Maserati MSG Racing and their two drivers, Maximilian Guenther and Edoardo Mortara - with Free Practice and qualifying shunts calling early time on their weekend's efforts.

guenther rossiter diriyah qualifying

Guenther and Mortara both managed to crash their Maserati MSG Racing machines during the Groups stage, with questions as to whether they'll both be able to start the CORE Diriyah E-Prix Round 2 later today.

The first driver to suffer a crunch was Guenther. The 25-year-old was thankfully unhurt in the high-speed contact with the barriers. Although explaining immediately after the crash that he "didn't really understand what happened at the front" of his Maserati. Replays showed the German got all locked up on the way into Turn 11 – overcooking it and slamming the barriers. That was the his session wiped out, with significant damage to his Tipo Folgore also causing a 10-minute red flag.

Max crash full WEB

"He said that he's okay," Maserati MSG Racing's Team Principal, James Rossiter, stated during the delay in qualifying. "Obviously, it was a high-speed incident with a lot of damage. He's not sure what happened, and neither are we at this point, so we need to see what caused that."

Once Guenther returned to the garage, and the session resumed, all hopes for the Monegasque squad rested on the shoulders of Mortara. However, not for long.

Just five minutes into green flag conditions, Mortara lost the rear of his car at Turn 16. The incident resulted in him destroying the back of his Maserati and having to limp back to the already disheartened garage.

Mortara crashes out

It's been a tough start for Maserati MSG Racing on-track. The team showed a great deal of pace during pre-season testing, with Guenther topping five out of seven sessions at the Valencia test.

When qualifying concluded, Guenther's car was brought back to the garage on a recovery truck, with Rossiter's first thoughts being that Guenther would be out of the upcoming race.

"Looking at that, I'm going to say Max won't be out in the race today," Rossiter explained. "It seems like there's a bit of damage to the tub. So we're gonna have to do a chassis change which will be complicated at the moment as we're obviously missing a few parts from Spark.

"So the spare chassis is not in a normal situation where it would just be a case of bolting the powertrain onto the new one. So we're gonna have to rebuild a new chassis, basically."

The state of Mortara's car is still unknown, but we'll have to see if the team can get him ready for the race in just a few hours.