Audi takes 4 stage wins and 14 podiums in 2022 Dakar Rally

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Last year, Audi announced its ambitious plan to shake things up in the dunes of Saudi Arabia. To conquer the world’s toughest off-road rallying event in electrifying fashion, Audi’s motorsports division developed the Audi RS Q e-tron with hopes to become the first carmaker to use an electric vehicle (with an efficient energy converter) against ICE-powered competitors.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • How many RS Q e-trons were entered in the 2022 Dakar Rally?

    Audi entered three RS Q e-trons in this year's Dakar Rally event.
  • How many wins did Audi get in the 2022 Dakar Rally?

    Audi won a total of four stage wins and 14 podiums.
  • Despite the difficulties Peterhansel and Sainz Sr. faced during the race, the overall results Audi had with Darak Rally’s 2022 season proved that they are making a significant mark in ushering the era of electric mobility in off-road rallying.

    “Audi has lived up to its pioneering role in the Dakar Rally right from the start. The alternative drive concept of the Audi RS Q e-tron has met all expectations with its electric drivetrain, high-voltage battery, and highly efficient energy converter. For more than four decades, our brand has repeatedly impressed with its innovations in motorsport — including in the world’s toughest rally,” said Audi Board Member for Technical Development Oliver Hoffmann.

    Three Audi RS Q e-trons were entered in the 2022 Dakar Rally, one of which was driven by 14-time Dakar winner Stéphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger.

    “I’ve driven many concepts in the desert but the Audi RS Q e-tron is simply sensational in the dunes,” said Peterhansel. The French duo won the 10th stage with the Audi RS Q e-tron, however, early damage left them no chance of a good overall position.

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    Peterhansel and Boulanger hit a stone in the second stage that destroyed the rim and caused consequential damage to the suspension. The team then dropped to the back of the field due to a time penalty for exceeding the maximum stage time after completing the repair on their RS Q e-tron.

    Carlos Sainz Sr., on the other hand, got lost with fellow Spaniard Lucas Cruz for almost over two hours on the second day of the event, leaving them with a very little window of scoring in the overall standings. Sainz Sr. and Cruz, however, clinched the Audi RS Q e-tron’s first stage victory on the demanding route from Al Artawiya to Al Qaisumah.

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    “Especially in the second half, the tracks were typical Dakar, namely very varied and demanding with a mixture of off-road tracks, small and large dunes, and difficult orientation,” said Sainz.

    Eight days later the Spanish tandem managed their second stage victory.

    Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist also lost significant time (1:45 hours) in their search for the right track. The two Swedes later had a better lay of the land after a while and were pleased to have made great learning progress.

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    “My teammates gave me lots of tips. I have found a better and better rhythm. The dunes remain my big challenge. Stéphane and Carlos have many years of experience advantage there. I always stayed on the safe side and didn’t attack too hard,” commented Ekström.

    The least experienced team achieved the best result climbing from 23rd to ninth position. With their Stage 8 win and two other top three results, they proved their steady progress in a discipline where experience counts more than in other types of motorsport.

    “Our driver teams won four stages and clinched a total of 14 podium results in the daily classifications. This clearly exceeds our expectations for the first Dakar participation,” said Audi Sport GmbH Managing Director Julius Seebach.

    “A big thank you for this and respect to the team on-site, but also at home in Germany. Thanks also to Sven Quandt and his team for their valuable support. The historic victory of Carlos Sainz with the Audi RS Q e-tron as early as on the third day is the reward for this hard work and underscores the concept’s ability to win. Audi is thus the first team to achieve a stage victory with an electrified drive concept. This is the result of an excellent team performance. After this performance already in the first year, overall victory at the next Dakar is clearly our goal. Back in Germany, we’ll take stock, further optimize our Audi RS Q e-tron, and field it in several races,” Seebach added.

    Photos from Audi

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