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22 May, 2021 21:52

‘He was a natural’: Female rally champ hails Prince William after spin with British royal in racing car preaching climate change

‘He was a natural’: Female rally champ hails Prince William after spin with British royal in racing car preaching climate change

A racing driver who partners current rallycross world champ Timmy Hansen and competes against the likes of ex-Formula One king Jenson Button has hailed Prince William, praising the British royal after showing him an electric car.

Former FIA European Rally champion Catie Munnings gave the Duke of Cambridge a "masterclass in electric racing" at the Knockhill Racing Circuit, where he stepped inside a motor and took it around the track in Scotland as part of a campaign with his wife Kate, the Duchess of Cambridge, to "turn the dial on the climate emergency".

Munnings joined George Imafidon, a Junior Engineer on Formula One king Lewis Hamilton’s X44 team, to show their illustrious guest the best way to use an electric racer used by the Extreme E series of challenges around the world that she is a part of with the Andretti United team.

"It was amazing to sit with him while he tried the car and then take him for some laps, too," said the 23-year-old, who forms one of the duos, alongside Hansen, in the race series against opponents including Button and current Formula One racer Carlos Sainz.

"Prince William grasped the basic skills quickly and seemed very at ease with driving electric vehicles. Maybe my Andretti United team-mate, Timmy, should be feeling a little threatened."

The royal rookie was also described as a "natural behind the wheel" by Munnings, taking to the slightly less exotic location in the town of Fife after competing in Saudi Arabia earlier this month.

The high-speed tutorial was not Munnings' first brush with royalty recently, after she was given a fist bump on the podium in Saudi Arabia by Khalid bin Salman Al Saud, the ninth son and tenth child of King Salman of Saudi Arabia.

Offering his thoughts on the long-running debate over the impact of the industry on the climate, engineering graduate Imafidon claimed it was "incredible to see how the motorsport world is responding to the climate crisis", which he said was "something my generation, in particular, cares deeply about."

The duke was in a jokey mood as he emerged from the car, announcing that he wanted to join the racing company and was "going to apply for a job.”

"That’s my kind of racing – the track’s the track and with tarmac and all," he added.

"But with that little bit of dirt and the sliding around, it was awesome.”

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Munnings is heading from Scotland to Senegal next week for the second ever Extreme E event.

The Ocean X Prix takes place at the weekend on Lac Rose, a world heritage site featuring a series of dunes.

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