Team Audi Sport prepares for third time in Dakar Rally

In 2021, Audi made a decision to enter the Dakar Rally with the aim of being the first carmaker to win the world’s toughest off-road event with a fully electric rallycar.

It did not achieve that goal on its first attempt last year, nor in the 2023 event at the beginning of this year. But with each event, the engineers have gained an increasing amount of information and experience to improve the Audi RS Q e-tron.

Audi RS Q e-tron [2023]

Now Team Audi Sport has less than 6 months to prepare for its third participation. Besides tests in Saudi Arabia in May, the team combined recent testing of more than 1,500 kms in Spain with a subsequent competition, the Baja Aragon.

No category for RS Q e-tron
Three RS Q e-trons were entered the 595-km event but with the Audi prototype for the T1 U category having an electric drive, energy converter and refuel, there is actually no classification for such a vehicle in the event yet.

Audi RS Q e-tron [2023]

“Nevertheless, Audi Sport was allowed to compete with an exemption,” said Team Principal Sven Quandt. Even though we’re not racing within the overall classification, we’re expecting participation to provide thorough preparation under competition conditions for drivers and co-drivers as well as further insights for our vehicles.”

Preparations included various shock absorber configurations to represent a range of possibilities with new tyres from BF Goodrich to optimally match the RS Q e-tron.

Other details included  bodywork optimization, thanks to which the windscreen should no longer get dirty as quickly (an issue raised by the drivers).

Team Audi Sport

Practicing service procedures
Team Audi Sport is also preparing its crews for service procedures and the strict service conditions at the Baja Aragon provided a chance to practice under real conditions.

For example, the regulations allow only a 30-minute service between the two partial stages and after the end of the stage. Then only 3 workers plus the driver and co-driver are allowed to work on the car.

However, a Baja event is something completely different from the Dakar Rally in almost every respect, according to Stephane Peterhansel, one of the three drivers.

“The routes are more twisty like in the World Rally Championship, but much longer. And you basically can’t get lost because the route is well signposted. With these different requirements, the Baja is a good addition to our off-road program in the desert.”

Audi RS Q e-tron [2023]

After the event in Spain, the Rally du Maroc is another competition on the schedule in October. This event will have more desert conditions and increased navigation requirements. It also has a longer distance than the Baja Aragon.

Audi RS Q e-tron [2023]

The 2024 Dakar Rally
It will be the fifth year in Saudi Arabi when the 2024 Dakar Rally is run (January 5 – 19).

Also incorporated as part of the Dakar Future programme is Mission 1000 which offers an opportunity to test vehicles with innovative technologies on Dakar terrain.

Each day, the vehicles taking part will set off on a route of around 100 kms that will not be the same as the official route but will pose similar difficulties.

In an experimental mode, only the energy sources that consume the least fuel are included in Mission 1000: hydrogen, 100% electric or hybrid engines with a minimal amount of biofuel on board.

2024 Dakar Rally Mission 1000

It will not be competitive so there will be no winners and no losers. Initially, they will be invited to participate in a full-scale test, allowing carmakers to gather as much information as possible.

Their performance in terms of technical reliability, energy consumption and carbon footprint will be assessed by a panel of experts. Mission 1000 participants will eventually be entered into a real competition.

Fully electric Audi e-tron models are now available in Malaysia. For more information, visit

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