Carlos Sainz, Stephane Peterhansel and Mattias Ekstrom shared a take a look at automotive for 14 days within the dunes of Morocco, providing Audi an opportunity to completely consider its ‘electrical’ contender earlier than its highly-anticipated return to cross-country rallying.
The German marque shook down the RS Q e-tron in the middle of July and accomplished one other 200km of working within the Monegros desert in Spain final month, however Morocco marked the primary time its Dakar contender was examined in real-world circumstances for prolonged intervals.
Nevertheless, the take a look at didn’t go as easily as deliberate, with frequent sandstorms limiting the working time and temperatures exceeding 40°C posting a significant problem to the automotive’s complicated powertrain.
Audi didn’t disclose the full variety of miles it clocked over the course of two weeks, however these accountable for the undertaking admitted that quite a lot of work must be carried out on the RS Q e-tron forward of its maiden look in Dakar subsequent January.
“As anticipated, some new issues arose within the excessive temperatures, which repeatedly prompted interruptions to the testing and wanted to be solved earlier than the following take a look at,” stated Sven Quandt, the group principal boss of the Q Motorsport operation that’s working with Audi on its Dakar programme.
“We anticipate a lot decrease temperatures on the Dakar Rally. However, we intentionally went to Morocco to check our idea below essentially the most excessive circumstances.”
Audi RS Q e-tron
Picture by: Audi Communications Motorsport
Andreas Roos, head of Audi Sport racing, added: “Elements such because the MGU, for instance, have been mainly not developed to be used in such excessive ambient temperatures, however the drivetrain and different parts have been additionally pushed to their limits and even past by the warmth.
“The insights we gained in Morocco are invaluable, however in addition they present us that we nonetheless have loads to do earlier than the Dakar Rally and there’s not a lot time left.
“It’s all about optimum temperature administration and having the ability to name up the battery’s most efficiency.
“That is the place we’re studying with each take a look at. And that’s precisely why we’re going to the desert with an electrified drivetrain: We’re gaining an unbelievable quantity of expertise that we’re sharing with our colleagues from street automotive growth.”
One of many modifications Audi was capable of take a look at in Morocco was the cockpit configuration, in order that driver and co-driver are extra comfy and may talk higher with one another.
“This was certainly one of many matters we had on our to-do record after the take a look at in Zaragoza. For the take a look at in Morocco, we made modifications in order that the driving force and co-driver have more room within the tight cockpit and also can talk higher with one another. The suggestions was Positive,” stated Roos.
Audi has already began the development of one of many three competitors models that will probably be used within the coming months – chassis quantity 104 – and it’ll incorporate every thing the German producer has discovered with the take a look at automotive.
Autosport had beforehand discovered that Audi was planning to debut the brand new automotive within the Rally of Morocco (8-13 October), which counts in the direction of the 2021 FIA Cross Nation World Cup and has been the last word preparatory take a look at for Dakar in recent times.
This is able to have marked the primary time Audi was going to go in opposition to the brand new prototypes within the T1+ class from Prodrive and Toyota Gazoo Racing, its two greatest rivals in cross-country rallying.
However it seems that the German model has determined over the last weeks to proceed testing as an alternative, because it has to maintain creating a propulsion system that has by no means been utilized in rally-raids earlier than.
The automotive may now make its debut within the Abu Dhabi Desert Problem on 5-11 November or the Ha’il Worldwide Rally in December.