Rally of Morocco

There’s no substitute for competition in the final preparations for Dakar 20224.

All three Audi Sport Audi RS Q e-trons are taking part in the 2219 kilometre Rally of Morocco as a final ‘lash out’ ahead of the Dakar Rally in January.

16 October, 2023

Rally du Maroc comprises a Prologue and five stages through the desert for a total distance of 2219 kilometres

While Audi Sport has been hard at it testing and refining the RS Q e-trons since the completion of this year’s Dakar Rally at the start of the year, there is no substitute for actual competition when it comes to truly sorting a race car.

On top of extensive testing and competing in the the Baja España Aragón in July, all three RS Q e-trons are currently negotiating the 2219km Rally of Morocco, not only to see how modifications performed throughout the year work in a true race environment, but also to get the respective race crews back into a competitive mindset.

Made up of a prologue and five rally stages through the Moroccan desert, the Rally du Maroc runs from October 13 to 18 and provides conditions very similar to those encountered in the Saudi Arabian desert during the Dakar Rally. In the lead up to the event, the Audi Sport team completed six days of testing in Morocco racking up more than 3000 kilometres, testing new components on the vehicles and new tyres in the hope of avoiding some of the timely stoppages suffered in this year’s Dakar due to multiple punctures.

“This is a good assessment of our current status for us,” says Head of Audi Motorsport Rolf Michl. “At the same time, it helps the entire team to switch back into competitive mode and verify everything we have already implemented with a view to the 2024 Dakar Rally.” 

It’s the first time Audi Sport has taken part in the rally proper, having used it as a training exercise last year and participated outside of the actual competition. This year though, the RS Q e-trons are active competitors up against many of their well-known foes from the Dakar as well as numerous newcomers. Top teams from from the likes of Toyota, Ford and Prodrive are all competing in the rally which as well as being the last major desert event before Dakar is also the fifth round of the FIA World Rally-Raid Championship.

At time of writing, Audi Sport duo Carlos Sainz and co-driver Lucas Cruz had the best running of the Audi Sport entries, finishing Day 1 in a solid fourth position after Stage 1, and just 3.55 minutes off the current leader.

"Now the whole team can work in competitive mode again,” says Michl. “The Morocco Rally is ideal for this in terms of duration and also with regard to the stages because the terrain reflects the versatile requirements of the Dakar Rally well.”

It’s the first time Audi Sport has taken part in the rally proper, having used it as a training exercise last year