It had already happened in January 1981 when Hannu Mikkola and Michèle Mouton brought the Audi Quattro coupé to its Montecarlo debut, the first sports all-wheel drive in the history of the company that revolutionized the world of road racing.
Now, exactly 41 years later, the Ingolstadt company is writing another fundamental page in the chapter of the history of rallies and automotive innovation. Audi is the first manufacturer in the world to line up in an official capacity at the Dakar with the innovative electric prototype with RS Q e-Tron range extender. The start is scheduled for January 1, 2022, and the race will end on January 14 after 8,099 km of grueling tracks on sand and stones.
After introducing avant-garde technologies such as Quattro all-wheel drive, (now available in seven configurations), TFSI turbocharged petrol direct injection engines and zero-emission powertrains from the e-Tron family, Audi is projecting marathon racing into a new era.
Three examples of RS Q e-Tron registered under the official Audi Sport aegis will start from Jeddah. The brand relies on the support of Q Motorsport GmbH based in Trebur, Hesse (Germany), a team was founded by Sven Quandt and his sons Thomas and Tobias Quandt. As a driver, Sven Quandt won the 1998 Marathon Cup in the T1 category.
In the same year, his GECO Raid team conquered the top three positions in the Paris-Dakar, also in the T1 Class. From November 2002 to the end of 2004, Quandt was sporting director of Mitsubishi Motors. In parallel, he founded the X-raid Team, which celebrated five Dakar victories and won the FIA Rally Raid World Cup eleven times.
Overall In Saudi Arabia, Audi Sport and Q Motorsport will be able to count on 80 people including drivers, engine engineers, logistics managers, doctors and physiotherapists and mechanics. The Dakar 2022 program includes 12 stages with daily journeys of up to over 800 kilometers. The total distance to be covered is 8,099 km, of which 4,252 km of timed special stages. The raid begins on New Year’s Day in Jeddah and ends in the same location on January 14. A day of rest is scheduled for January 8 in Riyadh.
“The Dakar is the most difficult and extreme challenge imaginable for our innovative electric prototype with range extender – commented Julius Seebach, CEO of Audi Sport GmbH and head of the international sporting activities of the brand – We have never created such an advanced and complex car. , plus with such tight deadlines. Our first, true, endurance test will be the most challenging rally raid in the world. “
During the twelve stages in the Saudi desert, the Audi RS Q e-Tron will compete with 91 cars and will share the track with vehicles of five different categories, ranging from cars to motorcycles, from quads to buggies to mighty trucks.
To the extreme stresses characteristic of rally raids, the Dakar adds peculiarities such as the alternation of sand, water, cold, great differences in height and the terrifying fesh fesh, the very fine dust of the desert that creeps everywhere.
The Casa dei Quattro Anelli fielded a real ‘dream team’ at the New Year’s marathon event. Stéphane Peterhansel, the most victorious driver in the Dakar with 14 wins, and Carlos Sainz, who has achieved three overall victories and is a World Rally Champion, are joined by Mattias Ekström, an exceptionally versatile driver with whom Audi has celebrated countless in the past. victories, especially in the German Touring Car Championship (DTM) and in the World Rallycross Championship.
Source From: Ansa