In a groundbreaking achievement, Audi has made history by securing its first victory in the Dakar Rally with the Audi RS Q e-tron—an innovative low-emission prototype featuring an electric drive, high-voltage battery, and energy converter. Piloted by the Spanish duo Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, the Audi RS Q e-tron triumphed over the challenging 7,900-kilometer desert rally, claiming a remarkable lead of 1 hour and 20 minutes.
Gernot Döllner, Chairman of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, conveyed his congratulations to Team Audi Sport for this historic win, emphasizing that Audi has once again set a milestone in motorsport. The victory not only marks a visible demonstration of Audi's "Vorsprung durch Technik" (Advancement through Technology) but also signifies a pivotal step toward an electric future. The Audi RS Q e-tron, equipped with electric all-wheel drive, relies on a high-voltage battery and an energy converter running on residual fuel-based reFuel, resulting in a 60% reduction in CO2 emissions compared to conventional fuels.
Expressing gratitude for the outstanding performance, Oliver Hoffmann, Member of the Board of Management of AUDI AG, Technical Development, highlighted the revolutionary electrified drive, overcoming a significant motorsport challenge within just three years. The Dakar Rally posed tough competition from brands like Toyota, Ford, and experienced opponents from Prodrive.
Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz secured their lead early on, dominating the race from the sixth stage. Their victory, Audi's first in the Dakar Rally, adds to Sainz's impressive rally career, marking his fourth success with a different brand. The challenging rally, characterized by daily stages of over 400 kilometers, challenging terrain, and limited service during marathon stages, demanded exceptional performance from the teams.
In addition to the historic win, Audi Sport's strategic management played a crucial role. Head of Audi Motorsport Rolf Michl and Team Principal of entry partner Q Motorsport, Sven Quandt, implemented a perfect strategy throughout the demanding rally. The team not only tactically adjusted positions but also supported the leaders, showcasing a strong driver lineup and efficient teamwork.
Audi Sport's achievement in the Dakar Rally adds another chapter to the brand's history of motorsport innovations, following iconic milestones like the quattro all-wheel drive in the 1980s and subsequent successes in various racing circuits. The innovative TFSI drive, electrified e-tron quattro all-wheel drive, and advanced technologies like LED matrix light and Audi laser light demonstrate Audi's ongoing commitment to innovation and technological advancement.
The success in the Dakar Rally also highlights Audi's transition to electric mobility, with the Audi RS Q e-tron marking the brand's participation in extreme challenges while utilizing an electric drive. This victory positions Audi as the first manufacturer to complete the Dakar Rally with an electric drive, reinforcing its commitment to pioneering achievements in the world of motorsport and beyond.