Morgan Pritchett
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Audi RS Q e-tron Rally Car Undergoes Grueling Morocco Test

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The Audi RS Q e-tron rally car traverses the Moroccan desert
Photo: Audi

To get the best idea of how a rally car will perform in a race, an automaker will often test vehicles in various conditions and terrain. After undergoing tests in Germany and Spain, Audi took the RS Q e-tron rally car to Morocco to see how the electric vehicle would do in the desert’s extreme heat.


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The two-week test in Morocco included drivers Carlos Sainz, Stéphane Peterhansel, and Mattias Ekström as well as their co-drivers Edouard Boulanger, Lucas Cruz, and Emil Bergkvist. One of the goals was to ensure that the modified cockpit was comfortable for the drivers prior to the famous Dakar Rally, which is being held in Saudi Arabia. “For the test in Morocco, we made modifications so that the driver and co-driver have more space in the tight cockpit and can also communicate better with each other. The feedback was positive,” said Andreas Roos, project manager of factory racing at Audi Sport.

It was certainly a grueling experience for the Audi rally team and the RS Q e-tron. Temperatures reached beyond 100 degrees Fahrenheit at times and sandstorms hindered some of the testing — and brought up new issues for the team to address. However, much lower temperatures are expected at the Dakar Rally. Even so, the battery for the RS Q e-tron was made specifically for the event and high heat.

  • The Audi RS Q e-tron rally car traverses the Moroccan desert
  • The Audi RS Q e-tron rally car traverses the Moroccan desert
  • The Audi RS Q e-tron rally car traverses the Moroccan desert
  • The Audi RS Q e-tron rally car traverses the Moroccan desert

“It’s all about optimum temperature management and being able to call up the battery’s maximum performance,” said 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.”

The Audi rally team has until January to get everything in order before the Dakar Rally, which starts on Jan. 2 in Ha’il and moves to Riyadh before finishing in Jeddah on Jan. 14. It’s crucial that everything is sorted out, as the intense event covers thousands of miles, both on- and off-road.