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  • Writer's pictureNATALIA SOUSA

Audi´s Second test of the RS Q e-tron in North Africa

Audi carried out further tests in the middle of November for the upcoming Dakar Rally. At the second test in Morocco, Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel/Edouard Boulanger and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz took turns in the cockpit of the Audi RS Q e-tron.

High-speed slopes, gravel tracks, dune mountains, dried up riverbeds: Audi's innovative prototype for the Dakar Rally was spared nothing during its second test in Morocco. Within a highly dense project period of little more than twelve months, the team has developed the RS Q e-tron to such an extent that it now masters daily off-road distances the length of a Dakar stage in the test. Nevertheless, many challenges remain until January. "The entire team concentrates its energy on further development under the toughest conditions," says Arnau Niubó Bosch, Head of Test Engineering. "It was impressive how important insights flowed back to Neuburg from Morocco daily. This means that our three race cars currently under construction for the Dakar Rally will have the latest technical status. At the same time, the logistical preparation is in full swing."

In the competition against time and bottlenecks in the supply of individual components in the pandemic, the team has reeled off a concentrated program. The three-driver teams moved the prototype with chassis number 103 a total of more than 2,500 kilometres, through the most challenging terrain. One of the various system tests was that the engineers imposed artificially high temperatures on the RS Q e-tron: Stéphane Peterhansel moved the desert racer through a dried-up riverbed with deliberately taped cooling air inlets to simulate high outside temperatures. An ordeal that the prototype with its electric drive with energy converter completed without complaint. This did not apply to the entire test: tyre damage on the rocky slopes forced the Frenchman and Mattias Ekström to interrupt again and again. A wishbone bent by a rock in the chassis, a leaking drive shaft sleeve and other components demanded replacement, the body required minor repairs. Peterhansel, Ekström and Carlos Sainz also worked intensively on the chassis set-up.

Things get serious in Saudi Arabia at the end of December, when the RS Q e-tron experiences its baptism of fire at the Dakar Rally.

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