Mercedes decided that AMG division has to have electric vehicles. Now, Audi is doing the same, with the first RS model to be launched in the close future. And to pave the way for such a vehicle, Audi is competing in Dakar Rally.

On the way to its debut in the famous Dakar Rally in January 2022, Audi Sport has tested the Audi RS Q e-tron for almost two weeks in Morocco under the most extreme conditions.

After testing in Germany and Spain, the team headed for the desert and the dunes for the first time in the heat of Morocco. Once again, all three driver crews were involved. Dakar record winner Stéphane Peterhansel, Carlos Sainz and Mattias Ekström took turns at the wheel of the highly complex prototype.

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Some of the conditions the test team encountered in Morocco were extreme. “The thermometer climbed to well over 40 degrees Celsius at times,” says Sven Quandt, team principal of Q Motorsport. “Sandstorms also hampered the testing. In addition, as expected, some new problems arose in the high temperatures, which repeatedly caused interruptions to the testing and needed to be solved before the next test.”

The high-voltage battery, which was developed specifically for the Dakar Rally, is also a major topic. “It’s all about optimum temperature management and being able to call up the battery’s maximum performance,” says Roos. “This is where we are learning with every test. And that’s exactly why we are going to the desert with an electrified drivetrain: We are gaining an incredible amount of experience that we are sharing with our colleagues from road car development.”

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