The RS Q e-tron, Audi’s low-emission prototype with an electric drive, high-voltage battery and energy converter, has won the Dakar Rally.
“With our revolutionary electrified drive, we have overcome one of the biggest challenges in motorsport after just three years. I would like to thank the entire team for this outstanding performance in a particularly tough edition of the Dakar Rally,” said Oliver Hoffmann, member of the board of management of Audi, in technical development.
Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz secured their lead throughout the rally, marking their fourth success with a different brand, after previous wins in 2010, 2018 and 2020. Sainz, a two-time World Rally Champion with a career spanning four decades, and co-driver Cruz led for eight days across the 12 stages. Audi was up against Toyota and Ford, as well as the experienced opponents from Prodrive, in this year’s instalment of the famed rally event.
The Dakar Rally, which covers 4,600 timed kilometers and 7,883km in total, features daily stages and marathon stages with limited or no service. The rugged terrain, featuring scree, gravel roads, towering dunes in the Empty Quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, and complex navigation all tested the endurance and capabilities of the teams.
Two other Audi crews that participated in the off-road competition also put in a strong performance early on. The Swedes Mattias Ekström/Emil Bergkvist won the prolog and improved to second place behind Sainz/Cruz by the rest day after six stages.
However, a defect on the rear axle on the seventh stage cost them. Stéphane Peterhansel, record holder with 14 Dakar victories, was in sixth place shortly before the halfway point after his 50th stage win in the car and his 83rd overall. A defect in the hydraulic system dropped him and his French compatriot Edouard Boulanger back to 22nd place on the sixth stage.
Head of Audi motorsport Rolf Michl said, “Everyone pulled together to make this historic result possible for Audi. A big thank you to this wonderful team. Today we have written a new chapter for Audi, but also in the history of the Dakar Rally.”