Audi Sets Sights on Podium at Dakar Rally

  • Innovative Audi RS Q e-tron: with low-emission drive into the future
  • Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz: a team of winners
  • Motorsport boss Rolf Michl: “Great sporting excitement”

Revolutionizing the sport in an energy-efficient way and being among the best in the process: Audi has set itself no lesser task for the RS Q e-tron’s second outing in the Dakar Rally. Head of Audi Sport Rolf Michl has set Team Audi Sport a clear goal: After four stage victories were possible at the first attempt in the first appearance last January, the aim from December 31, 2022 to January 15, 2023 is to achieve a podium result in the overall standings for the innovative prototype with its electric drive, energy converter and high-voltage battery. The concept won the Racecar Powertrain of the Year Award in December from a panel of experts from Race Tech magazine.

Starting on New Year’s Eve, Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz will measure themselves against the competition in a prologue and 14 subsequent stages. Seventy percent of the route in Saudi Arabia is new to the teams. The ASO organizers have significantly increased the sporting demands: At 350 to 500 kilometers, the stages between the Red Sea and the Persian Gulf are longer and more difficult than last year. The Empty Quarter with its towering dunes is particularly demanding. “We feel a nice sporting tension but also feel thoroughly prepared for the rally,” says Rolf Michl, Head of Motorsport at Audi. “Our car is now very reliable. The improvements compared to the first-generation RS Q e-tron are significant. Our processes are much more well-rehearsed as well. Our goal is a podium position. We’ve prepared as thoroughly as possible, but all external factors remain unpredictable. We won’t experience them until the Dakar itself.”

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