The Spanish Carlos Sainz, double world champion of rallies, faces “with hunger and enthusiasm the challenge” of participating in the Dakar rally, who has already won three times, with an Audi car that features an innovative electric powertrain.
Audi faces one of the great challenges of the motor world by competing for the first time in the Dakar Rally with the innovative RS Qe-tron, It combines the electric powertrain with a converter that recharges the high-voltage battery while driving.
To tackle this ambitious project, Audi Sport has set up a line-up with three illustrious teams of drivers: the Spanish Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, the Swedes Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist and the French Stéphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger.
Carlos Sainz, 59, has twice won the World Rally Championship (1990, 1992) and has celebrated three victories in the Dakar Rally (2010, 2018 and 2020).
“I am still hungry for success, otherwise I would not have accepted this new challenge. My passion has not changed”He confessed during the presentation of his new Sainz car, for which the Audi quattro “changed the World Rally Championship forever”.
“Now we will try something similar in the Dakar. The engineers have much more freedom here, I fully trust them and will try to contribute my experience to developing a successful car. The Dakar is the ultimate challenge for an electric powertrain. It is a fantastic and extreme project. What I have seen so far gives me a lot of confidence, “he stressed.
Lucas Cruz, Carlos Sainz’s co-driver, also has a challenge facing the Dakar Rally with a car equipped with an electrified propulsion system.
“Audi is the first manufacturer to present a car of this type and it is important and positive for our sport to take such a step and invest in new energies in the toughest car test in the world. The Dakar is very complicated and this brand is daring to do something that no one has ever done before, it is the future, “he stressed.
For Julius Seebach, Director of Audi Sport GmbH, “It is not an exaggeration to speak of a ‘dream team‘”of drivers for the Dakar.
“Peterhansel is the most successful driver in Dakar history. Carlos has won this event and the World Rally Championship several times and Mattias is one of the most versatile pilots in the world “, he pointed.
With this commitment, Audi is once again a pioneer brand in motor sport by becoming the first automaker which is committed to developing a vehicle concept with an alternative powertrain for the Dakar Rally.
In 2012 the brand with the four rings achieved the first victory of a hybrid vehicle in ‘The 24 Hours of Le Mans’ with the Audi R18 e-tron quattro, and since 2014 it has also enjoyed successes in Formula E, the first all-electric single-seater championship, first as a partner of the ABT Sportsline team and since 2017 as a factory team.
“In the future we want to continue to value the brand’s slogan, ‘At the Forefront of Technology’, at the highest level in the motor world, and develop innovative technologies for our street cars. The toughest rally in the world It is the perfect setting to achieve it, “he declared. Markus Duesmann, Chairman of the Board of Directors and Head of Technical Development and Product Lines of AUDI AG.