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How Audi has overhauled its Dakar Rally challenger for 2024

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The forty fifth version of Dakar begins on 5 January and Audi will as soon as once more line up at Al-’Ula with a fleet of three vehicles, because it goals to develop into the primary producer to win the general vehicles class with an electric-powered automobile.

Audi has gone to nice lengths to enhance the RS Q e-tron, regardless of its upcoming Formulation 1 mission with Sauber taking some assets away from its rally-raid programme.

Adjustments have been made in almost each facet, with the motive force line-up the one factor that has remained steady in 2024 with Stephane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekstrom all returning for an additional crack on the marathon.

“The elemental capabilities of the RS Q e-tron have been demonstrated by our drivers and co-drivers with six stage victories and an extra 22 podiums within the Dakar Rally since 2022,” stated Rolf Michl, Head of Audi Motorsport. “Now it is about displaying our performances as constantly as attainable, in order that we will struggle for the highest positions.”

Audi Sport has analysed earlier performances, recognized weak factors and set clear priorities for additional improvement. Leonardo Pascali, the mission’s new Technical Director, has been specializing in 5 key matters along with his improvement workforce because the starting of the summer time.

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To enhance the efficiency, Audi has revised virtually all elements of the automobile, from the software program to the chassis and from the bodywork to the transmission. After final yr’s Dakar, the drivers had requested for extra freedom on the set-up to enhance the steadiness of the automobile. To fulfill this request, Audi’s improvement workforce labored on springs and shock absorbers for 2024.

That is not all, as a result of the RS Q e-tron has undergone a major weight-trimming train in each element to get nearer to the minimal restrict of two,100kg. That’s regardless of the brand new competitors tyres being heavier than their predecessors.

Audi has additionally labored on the rear bonnet, the co-driver’s platform in addition to the brake calipers, which have develop into smaller than final yr.

As per laws, the minimal weight of T1 vehicles (the Toyota GR Hilux, for instance) will improve to 2,010kg, making the RS Q e-tron extra aggressive compared. 

The ability-to-weight ratio of Audi’s T1U vehicles in comparison with the T1s has additionally been modified. Whereas at first of 2023 the utmost energy of electrical motors was set at 271kW, it can improve to 286kW this yr, a bump of 15kW.

Photograph by: Audi Communications Motorsport

Audi RS Q e-tron


The Audi RS Q e-trons stopped a number of occasions throughout phases as a consequence of quite a lot of issues within the final two years. Though reliability of the automobile improved final yr, the ultimate consequence didn’t reside as much as preliminary expectations for a number of causes, together with accidents. That is why Audi has labored onerous to both cut back or eradicate potential harmful conditions that it encountered throughout the earlier two editions of the rally-raid.

In the course of the 2023 Dakar, Audi drivers had been typically pressured to cease as a consequence of stones getting caught between the struts, brake calipers and rims. This yr, the fastening parts of the uprights have been modified and these permit for extra free house, in order to expel the stones from that space extra simply.

Work was additionally executed on the edges, which have now develop into extra strong on the sides to make the new-generation BF Goodrich much less weak.


The accidents that slowed down Sainz and Peterhansel in 2023 led Audi to proceed engaged on security.

Pascali explains: “Our objective was to cut back the height vertical acceleration throughout landings after massive jumps. 

“By engaged on the springs, shock absorbers and bump stops of the chassis, the engineers have higher distributed a part of the load over time. On this means it was attainable to realize optimum management of the platform, which is so vital for the general efficiency of the automobile.

“A second contributing issue is the froth of the seats. They assist to distribute the masses on the motive force and co-pilot over an extended time frame, thus decreasing peak hundreds. The builders centered specifically on the stiffness of the supplies and on the geometries of the seat foam, additionally considering how the cabin temperature influences the rigidity of the froth.

“These accountable additionally thought concerning the safety of the occupants after an abrupt frontal touchdown of the car, as within the case of Carlos Sainz’s second accident on the 2023 Dakar Rally, which ended with the automobile overturning. 

“The CFRP crash field on the finish entrance of the chassis construction is now longer, with out compromising the angle of assault, [which is] so vital in cross-country rallies. It now absorbs the power generated by these crashes higher than earlier than.”

Audi RS Q e-tron

Photograph by: Audi Communications Motorsport

Audi RS Q e-tron


One other facet that ought to assist drivers enhance efficiency and their driving is the work executed by Audi engineers on acoustic shielding, cockpit waterproofing and from an ergonomics viewpoint, the entrance bonnet.

The entrance bonnet has been redesigned to raised repel mud and water. This could permit the drivers to have a cleaner windscreen throughout the varied phases they are going to face in just a few days, decreasing hazard and, if attainable, bettering their efficiency on the finish of the stage.

Automobile upkeep occasions

Bettering the automobile is not only a query of efficiency and reliability, but additionally of the time devoted to its upkeep. This is the reason Audi engineers spent appreciable efforts in simplifying operations on the RS Q e-tron.

Bolted connections, instrument holders, fluid filling units, physique locking options have all been modified to make it simpler for mechanics and drivers (throughout marathon phases) to work on the vehicles.

“Our engineering workforce has additional improved the RS Q e-tron with many artistic options,” stated Michl. “The drivers and co-drivers, in addition to all of the mechanics and engineers, profit from imaginative concepts. We consider we’re greatest ready for the Dakar Rally.”

Audi has been making an attempt these new options on the automobile since July of final yr. Following six months of testing, these updates will probably be mounted on the race-ready model of all three RS Q e-trons as Sainz, Peterhansel and Ekstroem chase total victory on the 2024 Dakar Rally.

Audi RS Q e-tron

Photograph by: Audi

Audi RS Q e-tron

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