Motorsport is in Audi's DNA.
Audi is continually releasing information on its future e-tron electric vehicles, but few of them are anywhere near as exciting as the RS Q e-tron off-road racer revealed earlier this year. The all-electric competition vehicle has been strenuously evaluated in the desert to ensure its reliability and performance as it gears up for the grueling Dakar rally, which begins on January 1 and will run until the 14th. Despite the fact that Audi has never "brought such a complex vehicle to the start at Audi Sport in such a short time," the German automaker is feeling very confident about its chances of success.
Audi recalls that cross-country rallying is the seventh motorsport discipline it has been involved in. Since 1981, the German marque has been associated in sprint rallies through the World Rally Championship, touring car racing in the Trans-Am, IMSA GTO, DTM, STW, and TCR series, and prototype racing at Le Mans. It has also competed in GT racing in GT3, GT2, and GT4 formats, as well as rallycross in the WRX championship and single-seater racing in Formula E.
Audi may yet return to the latter as it considers a Formula 1 entry, but Audi is focused on the present. Sure, its heritage is reason to remain quietly optimistic, but the people involved in getting the car across the finish line are more critical to tomorrow's successes.
Three teams will be involved, beginning with two-time DTM and one-time WRX champion Mattias Ekstrom, who will be supported by co-driver Emil Bergkvist. Stephane Peterhansel has won the Dakar 14 times and will head up the second team while Edouard Boulanger will rejoin him as co-pilot. Finally, the legendary Carlos Sainz, himself a three-time Dakar winner and two-time World Rally Champion, will be aided by Lucas Cruz. All three teams will fly under the Team Audi Sport banner with support from Q Motorsport. They'll need all the help they can get with 12 stages to conquer, sometimes covering a daily distance of over 500 miles.