Audi suffers in the heat to prepare for the Dakar
Audi Sport completed its first two weeks of testing for the Dakar in the Moroccan desert, but ran into problems as time ran out.
The Audi RS Q e-tron has covered its first kilometers in the dunes of Morocco in recent days. Since September 6, Carlos Sainz, Stephane Peterhansel and Mattias Ekstrom took turns at the wheel of the German prototype brought into the rally-raid, with their respective co-drivers Lucas cruz, Edouard Boulanger and Emil Bergkvist.
The Spanish pair took care of the first tests, having already baptized the car in mid-July in Germany. The two weeks of testing, which followed a brief run in Spain in early August, however, brought their share of complications. The schedule was disrupted by sandstorms as temperatures, sometimes over 40 ° C, severely tested the brand’s innovative powertrain with the rings.
« As expected, some new problems have arisen with the high temperatures, which have caused repeated interruptions of the tests and must be resolved before the next test », explains Sven Quandt, Q Motorsport Team Director.
Audi did not wish to communicate the total mileage traveled during these 14 days, but the amount of work that remains to be done in a short time is obvious. The main problem that Audi faces seems to be with the operation of the three MGUs (one amplifier on each axle and a third capable of converting the kinetic energy of the combustion engine into electricity) when temperatures are high.
« We expect much lower temperatures on the Dakar », adds Andreas Roos, director of Audi Sport Racing. “However, we deliberately went to Morocco to test our concept under the most extreme conditions. Components like the MGU, for example, were not developed for use with such ambient temperatures, but the transmission and other pieces have also been pushed to their limits or even beyond by the heat. The knowledge acquired in Morocco is invaluable, but it also shows us that we still have a lot to do before the Dakar, and there is not much time left. . «
« It’s about optimal temperature management and being able to use maximum battery performance. That’s where we learn in every practice session. And that’s exactly what we’re going into. the desert with an electrified group: we accumulate an incredible experience that we share with our colleagues in the road development department. «
Among the small modifications tested in Morocco, Audi was able to put to the test a new cockpit configuration allowing the pilot and the co-pilot to be able to communicate better. « It was one of the main topics on our list after the Zaragoza test », confirms Andreas Roos. « For the tests in Morocco, we made changes so that the pilot and co-pilot had more room in the narrow cockpit, and also so that they could communicate better. The feedback was positive. »
In parallel with these very important tests, Audi has started the construction of one of the three cars which will be aligned in competition during the coming months, this chassis receiving the number 104. It is intended to receive the novelties which will result from the conclusions drawn in the Morocco. Based on information from Motorsport.com, Audi wanted to compete on the occasion of the Rally of Morocco (October 8 to 13), but the manufacturer seems to have made the decision to focus on testing. The official debut could thus be postponed at the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge (from November 5 to 11) or even at the Ha’il International Rally (from December 6 to 11).