On the way to its debut at the famous Dakar Rally in January 2022, Audi Sport tested the Audi RS Q e-tron for almost two weeks in Morocco under the most extreme conditions. After test drives in Germany and Spain, we went into the desert and dunes for the first time in the heat of Morocco. All three driver teams were used again. Dakar record winner Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekström took turns at the wheel of the highly complex prototype.
Audi RS Q e-tron in the test
Her co-pilots Edouard Boulanger, Lucas Cruz and Emil Bergkvist were always there, of course. In the Dakar Rally, the driver and co-driver form an important unit that has to feel comfortable in the cockpit. “That was one of many points that we had in our specification sheet after the test in Saragossa,” says Andreas Roos, who is responsible for the factory motorsport projects at Audi Sport. “We made modifications for the test in Morocco so that the driver and front passenger have more space in the narrow cockpit and can communicate better with one another. The feedback was positive. "
The conditions that the test team found in Morocco were sometimes extreme. “At times the thermometer climbed to well over 40 degrees Celsius,” says Sven Quandt, Q Motorsport team boss. “Sandstorms also hindered the test drives. As expected, the high temperatures also caused some new problems that repeatedly interrupted the test and that had to be resolved before the next test. "
“We expect significantly lower temperatures at the Dakar Rally,” says Andreas Roos. “Nevertheless, we made a conscious decision to go to Morocco to test our concept under the most extreme conditions. Components like the MGU, for example, were not developed in-house for use in such high ambient temperatures. However, gears and other components were also stressed to their limits or even beyond the heat. The knowledge we gained in Morocco is very valuable. But they also show us that we still have a lot to do before the Dakar Rally and that time is running out. "
High-voltage battery especially for the Dakar Rally
Another big topic is the high-voltage battery, which was specially developed for use in the Dakar Rally. "It's about the optimal temperature management and about being able to call up the maximum performance of the battery," says Roos. “Here we learn from every test. And that is exactly the reason why we are going into the desert with an electrified drive: We are collecting an incredible amount of experience that we share with our colleagues in series development. ”The Audi RS Q e-tron has an electric drive with two motors -Generator units (MGU) from the formula E.
The high-voltage battery newly developed by Audi Sport is charged while driving via an energy converter consisting of the efficient TFSI engine from the DTM and another MGU. At the same time as the test, Audi Sport in Neuburg an der Donau began building the first emergency vehicle with chassis number 104. “The test vehicle is a prototype that did not yet fit perfectly,” says Benedikt Brunninger, project manager at Audi Sport for the Dakar Rally. "In the case of emergency vehicles, we strive for absolute perfection in terms of fit."
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The Audi RS Q e-tron being tested in Morocco
Photo credit: Audi
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