The stage is set for Audi Sport going into the final stage of this year’s Dakar Rally – one RS Q e-tron in the top 10 and one just outside – all eyeing off the finish.
14 January, 2022
The second week of the 2022 Dakar has seen team Audi Sport really hit its straps, with all three driver pairings now adding their names to the record books with stage wins and the team in an extraordinary position going into the final day of competition.
Overnight, Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz added a second stage win in the penultimate day of competition, their second after the historic first win for the brand in this year’s event in addition to several other podium results. Battling everything from massive dunes to harsh, rocky conditions, they set a blistering pace with the other two Audis not far behind – Mattias Ekström recording another podium with third and Stéphane Peterhansel right on the pace but finishing sixth for the day.
Earlier in the week both Mattias Ekström and Stéphane Peterhansel also opened their accounts with stage wins, Stage 7 seeing all three Audi RS Q e-trons finishing in the top four positions – almost a complete podium lockout by the brand and the first time a team had completed a one-two result at the Dakar.
Aside from some slow punctures in the trying terrain, the RS Q e-trons have run fault free this week – the blinding dust and navigation throwing up challenges that the teams have taken in their stride as they have continued to advance up the leaderboard.
Going into the final day of the competition, Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist lead the Audis sitting inside the top 10 in ninth, while Sainz and Cruz are just outside the top 10 in 12th position. Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger still sit well back as a result on the major damage on the second day, but their performances this week have seen the French duo steadily moving up the field to sit 58th ahead of the final day.
In its first-ever competitive outing, the Audi RS Q e-tron has distinguished itself. Taking a brand new race vehicle that just over a year ago was little more than an idea and being competitive ‘straight out of the blocks’ is nothing short of extraordinary.
“Our team has developed the Audi RS Q e-tron in record time. Right off the bat, we are strong on a sporting level,” said Oliver Hoffmann, Audi Board Member for Technical Development at the rally’s halfway mark.
“Our drivers, co-drivers and the entire team are showing a great team performance. And our advanced technology fulfills the expectations placed in it.”
The goal from the outset was to see all three RS Q e-trons finish, with the added hope that one might manage a top 10 result. That all three vehicles and their teams have won stages and recorded multiple stage podiums is truly the icing on the cake.
Watch the penultimate day’s competition here.
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