The Hoonigan driver also got the chance to pilot a legendary rally car from his childhood.
Like many automakers, Audi is pivoting towards electromobility in a big way. Its current battery-powered range offers consumers a wide variety of choices, including the svelte-looking RS e-tron GT. But it's not just Ingolstadt's road cars; Audi is on a mission to prove EVs are the way forward, entering an electrified RS Q e-tron into the arduous Dakar Rally.
The trailblazing effort paid off, bagging Audi some serious bragging rights. While hopes of an outright victory were cast aside after damage left one of the cars stranded, Team Audi Sport did clinch a third stage victory, making them the first-ever team to win with an electric vehicle.
For the first time since the Dakar rally, the RS Q e-tron made an appearance at the GP Ice Race in Zell am See, Austria, battling far colder but equally challenging climates. US drifting phenomenon Ken Block was on hand to give the hardcore off-roader a serious thrashing on the slippery and demanding course.
"The laps in the Audi RS Q e-tron were a phenomenal experience - even though the car probably feels more comfortable in the desert than in the snow," said the Hoonigan rally driver. With Mattias Ekström on hand to guide Block, the pro drifter quickly familiarized himself with the electric Dakar entrant, getting up to full speed by the third turn. "Nothing compares to actually experiencing it. The handling, the power, [and] the design truly defines intelligent performance," said Block.
But a certain legend in Audi's motorsport history wasn't going to allow the RS Q e-tron to steal the show. Known for its unwavering dominance in rallies throughout the 1980s, the Audi Quattro A2 was on standby to show its modern-day equivalent how to play in the snow. Block slid behind the wheel of the iconic rally car - a vehicle he idolized as a teenager - and came back thoroughly impressed. "[This was] an insane moment that I won't forget in a hurry."
Given that he admired Ingolstadt's rally cars in his youth, the brand's latest all-electric one-off must be a dream come true for the highly-talented driver. Designed exclusively for Ken Block, the Audi S1 e-tron quattro Hoonitron was inspired by the quattro S1 of the '80s and will soon feature in a video, entitled "Electrikhana."
The vehicle is designed to be a modern interpretation of the Group B star, melding the best of the past with the best technology currently on offer. While Block is used to throwing a wide variety of cars around a course at breakneck speeds, he said the electric Audi rally car presented him with plenty of new things to learn. "I think it's cool that the Audi designers have been inspired by their own past and uniquely transferred the car's technologies and appearance into the present."