Ahead of the Dakar Rally, Audi Sport has put its Audi RS Q e-tron through its paces in the deserts of Morocco.
With its three driver crews, Audi pushed the car to its extremes to test its capabilities. Sven Quandt, team principal of Q Motorsport said that at times, the temperatures soared to over 40 degrees Celsius, which brought some new issues to light. He also said that sandstorms hampered the tests.
Andreas Roos, who oversees factory motorsport projects at Audi Sport, added that the team expects lower temperatures at the Dakar Rally. “Nevertheless, we deliberately went to Morocco to test our concept under the most extreme conditions,” he said. “Components for the MGU, for example, were basically not developed for use in high ambient temperatures, but the drivetrain and other components were also pushed to their limits, or even beyond the heat.”
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He also said the insights gained in Morocco were “invaluable” but admitted there was still a lot to do before the Dakar Rally, and there’s not much time left.
On the driver side of things, one of Audi’s main objectives in Morocco was to test a new cockpit configuration. The new modification was meant to provide the driver and co-driver with more space in the tight cockpit so the team can perform and communicate more effectively. In this regard, Roos shared that feedback was “positive”.
Audi Sports driver teams are as follows: Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist (Sweden), Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger (France) and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (Spain). Peterhansel is regarded as the most successful Dakar driver of all time, with the record for the most wins (14) at the rally. Sainz, the father of F1 driver Carlos Sainz Jr, has won the Dakar Rally three times (2010, 2018, 2020).
The 2022 Dakar Rally is a 12-stage event that will take place from 2-14 January 2022. It will take place in Saudi Arabia, starting in Ha’il and ending in Jeddah — going through canyons, cliffs, coastline, and stretches of dunes. This will be the third time the event has been hosted in Saudi Arabia.
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