AUDI PREPARES THE DAKAR 2023


The new Audi RS Q e-tron E2, which appeared last January on the Dakar tracks in Saudi Arabia and whose latest, much improved version has just been unveiled this mid-week for future rally-raid events, is now lighter, more aerodynamic and even more efficient

In March 2022, the Audi RS Q e-tron achieved its first desert success in Abu Dhabi, and now the next evolution is ready!

The innovative prototype is significantly improved for its next first meeting, the 2022 Morocco Rally, which will precede the main event, the 2023 Dakar Rally.

The chassis is completely new and features significantly improved aerodynamics. It helps to reduce the weight and the center of gravity of the prototype. New operating strategies further improve the efficiency of the electric drive unit. Inside and when changing wheels, the driver and co-driver enjoy easier operation. Following these developments, the RS Q e-tron now bears the abbreviation E2. It is reminiscent of the legendary Audi Sport Quattro in its final stage of development for Group B rallies in the 1980s!

Rolf Michl, Managing Director of Audi Sport GmbH and Head of Motorsport at Audi, says:

“We had a good debut in the Dakar with the Audi RS Q e-tron with our first victories in a motorsport discipline that was new for us”

And he continues:

“The whole team is working very well together and going in the same direction. As usual at such an early stage, the pilots, co-pilots and technicians quickly agreed on the next objectives. We’ve wrapped up the result in a new evolution package dubbed the RS Q e-tron E2. »

This marks the beginning of the second phase of the development program. Next October, Team Audi Sport will prepare for the 2023 Dakar Rally with this new prototype at the Morocco Rally.

Axel Löffler, chief designer of the RS Q E-tron, says:

“The Audi RS Q e-tron E2 does not adopt a single body part from its predecessor. In order to comply with the prescribed interior dimensions, the cockpit, which was previously recessed close to the roof, is now significantly wider. The front and rear covers have also been redone.

The electric drive unit of the Audi RS Q e-tron E2 includes an energy converter consisting of an internal combustion engine and a generator, as well as a high-voltage battery and the two electric motors on the front axles and back. Energy management plays a crucial role in this. The electronic control system of the complex electric driving group proved its value in the first rallies. Challenges only arose in extreme cases.

On the Dakar Rally, for example, Audi noted short-term power surges in situations where the wheels had less contact with the ground when jumping or on uneven ground. Officials of the FIA, the World Automobile Federation, intervene at a threshold of 2 kilojoules of excess energy and impose sporting penalties.

Regarding him, Uwe Breuling, Head of Automotive Operations Audi Sport, says:

“We combined all the important lessons in a very short time. The result of our ideas is the evolution of E2. The determined and profitable work of our development team has prepared us perfectly for our second Dakar Rally.”

After the first tests conducted by Arnau Niubó Bosch, head of test engineering, Audi Sport therefore unveiled this RS Q e-tron E2 in Neuburg an der Donau on September 1.

From October 1 to 6, the new technology will have to prove itself in competition for the first time at the Rallye du Maroc. The three pairs of Audi drivers will then take part in the test in the desert and will end at the edge of the Ocean in Agadir.

Regarding these crews, nothing changes. « Monsieur Dakar » alias Stéphane Peterhansel, is back in search of a fifteenth success in the event in association with navigator Édouard Boulanger.

‘El Matador, the Spaniard Carlos Sainz Senior, riding as usual with his faithful navigator Lucas Cruz, while the Swedish pair, Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist, brilliant debutants last year in the Dakar, will certainly ride with the aim of play the leading roles and why not also aim for the final victory!

Peter SOWL

Photo credits: Audi Communications Motorsport – DPPI ‘ ASO



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