Audi Audi RS Q e-tron: in full preparation for the Dakar Rally

Audi Sport took one more step towards the Dakar Rally in the second week of November. During the second test in Morocco, the crews of Mattias Ekström / Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel / Edouard Boulanger and Carlos Sainz / Lucas Cruz took turns in the cockpit of the Audi RS Q e-tron.

High-speed tracks, gravel roads, dune reliefs, dry river beds: nothing was spared from Audi’s innovative prototype for the Dakar Rally during its second test in Morocco. In a project with a tight deadline of around twelve months, the team developed the Audi RS Q e-tron to such an extent that it can now handle daily off-road distances when testing a length equivalent to that of a Dakar stage. However, many challenges remain to be overcome by January. “The whole team is focusing its energy on further development under the most difficult conditions,” says Arnau Niubo, head of test engineering. “It was impressive to see how important findings were transmitted daily to the center of Neubourg from Morocco. As a result, our three rally cars currently under construction for the Dakar Rally will have the latest technical update. At the same time, logistical preparations are in full swing. « 

In a race against time and faced with the restrictions related to the supply of the various components, the team deployed a concentrated program. The three teams of drivers drove the prototype bearing chassis number 103 for a total of over 2,500 kilometers over the most hostile terrain. During the various system tests, the engineers in particular imposed artificially high temperatures on the Audi RS Q e-tron: Stéphane Peterhansel made the desert bolide pass through the bed of a dry river, the air intakes of cooling system being deliberately sealed off with adhesive tape to simulate high outside temperatures. A test that the electric propulsion prototype with energy converter passed without problem. This was not the case for the whole test: tire damage on the rocky tracks forced the Frenchman, like Mattias Ekström, to repeated interruptions. A wishbone bent by a rock, a leaking driveshaft bellows and other components had to be replaced; the body required minor repairs. Peterhansel, Ekström and Carlos Sainz also worked intensively on the chassis settings.

Serious things will start in Saudi Arabia at the end of December, when the Audi RS Q e-tron will make its baptism of fire at the Dakar Rally.

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