Motorsport milestone

Three times a charm – Audi wins Dakar.

Audi has added yet another motorsport first to the company’s long and illustrious history, becoming the first to win the gruelling Dakar Rally with an electric hybrid-drive vehicle.

20 January, 2024

For the man known as El Matador, Carlos Sainz, the win is his fourth at Dakar

With a performance reminiscent of countless past motorsport triumphs by the brand, Audi has won the Dakar Rally. After a gruelling 7900 kilometres of competition over two weeks, Spaniards Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz crossed the finish line in Saudi Arabia an hour and 20 minutes ahead of their nearest rivals claiming an historic victory for Team Audi Sport.

In just the brand’s third attempt at the desert classic, Sainz and Cruz led for much of the event, overcoming stiff competition and some of the most demanding conditions in motorsport. Not only is it Audi’s first win at Dakar, but it also represents another milestone for the brand, becoming the first to take top honours in the event in a vehicle with an electric drive with a high-voltage battery and energy converter.

For the man known as El Matador, Carlos Sainz, the win is his fourth at Dakar, adding to what is an extraordinary motorsport career that includes two World Rally Championship titles. Already the oldest driver to win Dakar, this fourth win for the 61-year-old is all the sweeter for having been achieved in the groundbreaking hybrid-electric RS Q e-tron.

“I am very happy for Audi, the many fans of the brand and my fellow countrymen,” said an elated Sainz at the end of the gruelling rally.

“This victory means a lot to me … the team has developed a very special concept with which we are the first in the Dakar Rally. Only Audi was brave enough to take this risk. I’m happy that we’ve made history with it.”

All three of the Audi RS Q e-trons not only finished the event in 2024 but recorded individual successes along the way. The French pairing of Stéphane Peterhansel and Edouard Boulanger achieved a stage win and were consistently among the frontrunners throughout, while Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist won two stages including the prologue and were contenders for a podium finish until only days ago when significant suspension damage put paid to their 2024 campaign.

For 14-time Dakar winner, Stéphane Peterhansel, the result was one of satisfaction and happiness for the team, if not a little personal disappointment.

“The overall result is a great satisfaction for the team. I am delighted for Carlos and Lucas and the entire team,” he said.

“The project was extremely challenging due to the technology. After three years, Audi was ready to win and is celebrating the first success of an electric drive. We can all be proud of this, even if we are a little disappointed that things didn’t go better for our car.”

All three of the Audi RSQ e-tron E2s were there at the end

'It is difficult to put this victory into words. We have written a piece of motorsport history'

“But all three driver teams have worked very well together for years to achieve this success. The great result of Carlos and Lucas will remain in everyone’s memory.”

Despite being out of the running themselves for the last several stages, the other two Audi Sport teams provided important support to the leading Audi right to the end of the last stage, providing additional tyres when the unforgiving surface threatened to derail Sainz and Cruz at one point. Quite aside from the overall win, the fact that all three Audis were there at the end and working together is testament to the entire team’s resilience and professionalism.

“It is difficult to put this victory into words. We have written a piece of motorsport history,” said Rolf Michl, Head of Audi Motorsport of the win.

“It will take a few more days for this to really sink in. This sport is also about luck. We lacked that last year. We had an amazing team that never gave up, even when we had setbacks. If you trust your team, they can even achieve the seemingly impossible.”

Mattias Ekström (left) and Carlos Sainz Jnr congratulate Carlos Sainz (centre).
Mr Dakar, Stéphane Peterhansel (left) and this year's winner, El Matador, Carlos Sainz.
Two stage wins in 2024 – Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist.

Historic win

At the end of a gruelling 7900km, all three Audis made it home in one piece and made motorsport history in the process.

Watch the highlights from the last day of Dakar 2024