Tough outing in Morocco

Three stage wins in the Rally du Moroc, but no podium at race end.

No new silverware to show for its outing at the Morocco Rally, but Audi Sport goes away with more lessons learned in the desert to apply for the looming Dakar assault.

20 October, 2023

The pair charged from sixth into second with just one day left to go

Although a podium result came tantalisingly close with just a day to the finish, it was not to be for Audi Sport and its three RS Q e-trons in this year’s Rally of Morocco. Conducted over a Prologue and five competitive stages totalling 2200 kilometres, the Audis managed three stage wins in the event but a mechanical failure cost the French pairing of Stéphane Peterhansel and co-driver Edouard Boulanger an outright podium finish.

The pair had charged into contention on the second to last day of competition, racing from sixth place up into second and were looking dangerous with just one day of racing remaining. Unfortunately, a failed water pump put an end to what would have been a dream finish and they would ultimately finish well back in 47th place.

Their teammates, Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist along with Carlos Sainz and fellow Spaniard Lucas Cruz likewise showed impressive turns of speed and threatened the lead at varying times during the rally, but ultimately they too were plagued by problems that kept them out of contention.

Mr Dakar – Stéphane Peterhansel .
Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz set the pace early in the race.
Emil Bergkvist and Mattias Ekström – building for Dakar 2024.

The fact that all three race cars finished was an obvious plus, and winning more than half of the stages showed beyond any shadow of a doubt that the RS Q e-tron has the pace to beat the opposition. But with Dakar just a matter of months away, there is still work to be done to ensure reliability and iron out some minor issues. 

Sven Quandt, Team Principal of Q Motorsport, looks back with his team on an intensive time in Morocco: “We have once again experienced how close success and defeat can be in motorsport. Our drivers and co-drivers and the entire team deserve a big thank you for the three weeks of hard work we spent in the desert from the start of our test until today. We can now go at the pace that we lacked in the Dakar Rally. At the same time, we’ve seen where work still needs to be done. Everyone knows what still needs to be accomplished in the months leading up to the Dakar Rally.”

The 2024 Dakar Rally will start in the ancient city of Alula on Friday the 5th of January and run over more than 5000 kilometres to finish on the 19th of January, in Yanbu in western Saudi Arabia.

We have once again experienced how close success and defeat can be in motorsport