Audi will return to the Dakar Rally in January with the latest version of its RS Q e-tron. Headed by a new Technical Director in Dr. Leonardo Pascali, Audi Motorsport has focused on five main areas of development – safety, reliability, comfort, performance and maintenance times.
Various detail changes mean the new vehicle is slightly lighter than before, and changes in the event’s regulations mean its electric motors can now be tuned for greater output. Suspension uprights have been redesigned to help prevent stones from getting stuck behind the rim and brake disc, something that has previously caused time-consuming damage, and the wheels will be shod with a new tyre featuring stronger sidewalls.
The suspension has also been rethought to reduce peak vertical acceleration during landings, with a better distribution of loads also allowing enhanced handling control and a longer crash box at the front of the chassis. This is now more efficient at absorbing the energy generated during a hard frontal landing – such as the one which put Carlos Sainz out of the 2023 Dakar when his RS Q e-tron dug in and somersaulted.
Sainz is one of three Audi drivers at the 2024 Dakar, all of them returning after last year. He’ll be co-driven by Lucas
Cruz; other teams are Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist and Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger.
‘Our engineering team has improved the RS Q e-tron even further with many creative solutions,’ says Audi’s Head of Motorsport Rolf Michl. ‘Drivers and co-drivers, as well as all of the mechanics and engineers, benefit from the imaginative ideas. We feel that we are prepared for the Dakar Rally in the best possible way.’