Audi's Quirky EV Racer Makes History In Desert Rally

Motorsport / 1 Comment

The RS Q e-tron continues to impress.

Audi is currently working on reinventing its e-tron SUV for the mainstream market, but its electrified exploits off the road have been yielding impressive fruit too. The electrified RS Q e-tron showed plenty of promise ahead of the Dakar rally earlier this year and rewarded excited fans with a world-first stage victory before adding a further three to its tally. To clarify, this is not a full EV because the electric powertrain is supplemented by an onboard combustion engine that acts as a generator. Whatever you want to call this class of vehicle, the RS Q e-tron is baying for more blood on the sands of competition and recently entered the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge. This time, it achieved more than just a stage victory and won the whole event.

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Audi
Audi

For the eighth time since 1996, Stephane Peterhansel has taken a winner's trophy home from the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, but this is the first time he has done so while driving for Audi. He recorded the win with Edouard Boulanger as his co-driver and the achievement was all the more impressive considering that the temperatures of both the air and the sand were particularly high. Despite the challenging conditions, the Audi RS Q e-tron proved very reliable over the course, which runs over 1,800 kilometers (over 1,118 miles), while Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and nine-time WRC champion Sebastien Loeb both suffered mechanical failures in their conventional cars.

"It wasn't easy to find the right rhythm on the sometimes very treacherous broken dunes," said Peterhansel. "Our pace was right and we didn't take too many risks. Once again, the Audi RS Q e-tron was a lot of fun."

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Audi
Audi
Audi
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Team Audi Sport only had to deal with a single unscheduled stop, picking up a puncture on the second day that reduced its original lead from 9.30 minutes to 7.49 minutes. Despite this, when the grueling race was finally over for Team Audi Sport, it would be more than half an hour before the closest competitor would finish the race.

"We developed the Audi RS Q e-tron in record time," said Julius Seebach, Managing Director of Audi Sport and the man in charge of motorsport at Audi. "Now, for the first time, a car with an electric powertrain has won a desert rally. That makes me proud. A victory on the second start against the two best contenders of January's Dakar Rally - winner Nasser Al-Attiyah and record World Champion and Monte Carlo winner Sebastien Loeb - is an outstanding result. It was remarkable that our concept prevailed in even tougher conditions than in January."

An excellent job, but now it's time to look ahead. The RS Q e-tron is scheduled to compete in the south of Spain from June 6-12 as part of the Andalucia Rally.

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Audi

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