The last big test before the 2024 Dakar Rally: Team Audi Sport has put the Audi RS Q e-tron through its final test in the south of France. The three Audi driver crews of Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz carried out the final fine-tuning. Before Audi’s third participation in the Dakar Rally, the engineers’ priority was to further extend the endurance of all the components.
The three driver crews covered a total distance of over 900 kilometers during the five-day test hosted at Château de Lastours. “We have thus fulfilled our development tasks and are now concentrating on the remaining logistical work before January,” says Rolf Michl, Head of Audi Motorsport. “We have prepared as well as possible, but the Dakar Rally remains the most ambitious and by far the most difficult task on the calendar. And we approach it with great respect. A big thank you also goes out to the entire team, as well as to our drivers and co-drivers for the work they have done to date for this very demanding challenge.”
Under the leadership of the Technical Director Dr. Leonardo Pascali, the focus for the engineers was the confirmation of quality standards. The innovative Audi RS Q e-tron is characterized by its electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and an energy converter. The battery system and other components of the highly efficient and low-emission concept had to pass final endurance tests at the venue between Narbonne and Perpignan on the French Mediterranean coast. “Logistically, this location was ideal for us to travel to and allowed short reaction times if we needed something from Germany,” summed up Pascali. “We have gone over all of the assemblies and systems, both the parts taken over from the previous model and the newly developed ones. It was about meeting the specified quality standards for all areas.” At the same time, the drivers were able to once again confirm the RS Q e-tron’s set-up for the Dakar Rally, which they had developed on different terrain over the course of the season.
“We were able to work through all the necessary points on our checklist,” said Sven Quandt, Team Principal of Q Motorsport. “Our drivers and engineers have put the cars through their paces for the Dakar Rally. Carlos, Mattias and Stéphane are happy. They even tested some of the spare parts in their cars to run in the components. We are going to the Dakar Rally with excitement, but also with peace of mind. Everyone has shown that they are real team players. They approach their tasks purposefully and consistently. This increases our confidence for the Dakar Rally.”