Watch how Audi Sport prepared for the first rally of the new Audi RS Q e-tron E2 with an extensive 4,218km test in Morocco. The test team, comprising Mattias Ekström, Emil Bergkvist, Stéphane Peterhansel, Edouard Boulanger, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, conducted nine days of testing so that each driver/co-driver pairing could work with the test vehicle for three days.
The team’s objectives were to to develop the second evolution for the Dakar Rally and to familiarise the driver teams with the new developments. The weight reduction for the car enabled by the electric drive creates new opportunities for suspension set-up (with a slight comfort bias for the dampers), but the test conditions were tough, with brittle test track surfaces and 40°C heat.
Driver Carlos Sainz is happy with the dynamics advantages of the lower weight of the prototype with an electric drive: “Not only the weight, but also its distribution is more favourable now. As a result, the car drifts less, it feels more agile and it’s easier to control.”
Stéphane Peterhansel agrees: “When we drive through long, fast corners, there are fewer centrifugal forces. So it’s much easier to stay on the inside of the corner. Likewise, our seating position is better than before.”
Mattias Ekström, who is still a newcomer to off-road rallying after a successful career on the circuit and in rallycross, added: “It’s not about lap times as on asphalt courses, but about having a predictable car. In addition to the lower weight, the improved aerodynamics are also clearly noticeable. It has a positive effect, especially at higher speeds.”