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Audi aims to take the overall victory at the 2022 Dakar Rally with its electric vehicles. Yes, that's right. Audi Sport is taking on the infamous Dakar Rally with electric cars. Behind the wheels of the three competing cars will be Dakar Rally legends.
Audi Sport has signed three legendary rally driver and navigator duos for the 2022 Dakar Rally. Stephane Peterhansel & Edouard Boulanger, Carlos Sainz & Lucas Cruz, and Mattias Ekstrom & Emil Bergkvist are the three duos that will be piloting the three Audi Sport cars in the 2022 Dakar rally.
The Dakar Rally is quite simply the world's toughest motorsport event. It involves several days of off-road, pedal-to-the-metal driving and riding. The terrain that the participants traverse ensures that a majority of them do not even finish the rally. Many participants consider even finishing the Dakar Rally as an immense achievement.
However, there are a few others, who only know the path to victory. Audi Sport seems to have gone looking for such drivers and their co-drivers and the German marque has now signed some Dakar Rally legends.
Mattias Ekstrom is the only one without prior Dakar Rally experience. However, he has plenty of experience with Audi. Ekstrom has won the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) title twice in 2004 and 2007, and World Rallycross Championship in 2016, all in Audi racecars.
He has also had successful stints in the World Rally Championship, NASCAR, and Australian Supercars. In 2021, Mattias Ekstrom is competing in the Extreme E electric off-road series. His co-driver Emil Bergkvist used to be a rally driver himself.
59-year-old Carlos Sainz is a Dakar Legend in many ways. He's won the World Rally Championship twice, in 1990 and 1992. He then won the Dakar Rally in 2010, 2018 and in 2020. His co-driver Lucas Cruz is also a Dakar Rally veteran having raced in cross-country rallying for nearly two decades.
Then comes Stephane Peterhansel who has won the Dakar Rally a mind-boggling 14 times. Six of those victories were on a motorcycle and eight of them were in a car. He has known Edouard Boulanger for 13 years, but 2021 was the first time in the Dakar Rally where Boulanger was Peterhansel's co-driver. They won the 2021 Dakar Rally together.
Now, these three legendary duos will come together under the Audi Sport banner at the 2022 Dakar Rally. If that wasn't big enough, Audi has announced that it will be fielding electric vehicles in the 2022 Dakar Rally.
In May 2021, the organisers of the Dakar Rally revealed the route for the 2022 edition of the Dakar Rally. Along with the route reveal, an announcement was made for the introduction of a new category called T1-E. This category was introduced as a part of a larger plan to make sure the Dakar Rally is future proof.
The future is electric and we all know it. Many forms of motorsport have already introduced electric categories like MotoE and Formula E. However, until now, some sports were thought to be EV-proof thanks to their extreme nature and the Dakar Rally was one of them. It was thought that EVs cannot handle the hundreds of kilometres that needed to be covered over extreme terrain.
This thought process is all set to change in 2022 as Audi aims to take the victory in not just the T1-E category but also aims at taking the overall 2022 Dakar Rally victory! The brand hasn't revealed its electric rally vehicle yet, but we do know that it will be formidable thanks to an announcement Audi made in December 2020.
Audi joined hands with Q Motorsport which has been a legendary cross-country rally team. Q Motorsport successfully took on the Dakar Rally through various builds. It is clear then that the Audi electric vehicle for the 2022 Dakar Rally will be built tough.
Audi has in the past been extremely successful in all forms of motorsport it took part in. Back in 1980, Audi entered the World Rally Championship with the Quattro and the world of rallying has never been the same. The Quattro was the first all-wheel-drive car in the WRC and today, all cars in the WRC are AWD.
Audi made giant strides in Le Mans and endurance racing with the introduction of its efficient, yet powerful diesel-hybrid drivetrain. Today, all cars in that category of the Le Mans run hybrid powertrain systems.
It now seems like Audi is all set to revolutionise the Dakar Rally too. After Audi's successful run in the 2022 Dakar Rally, over the next eight years, we expect more participants to join the EV bandwagon. The organisers of the Dakar Rally expect all vehicles to be EVs by 2030.
The 2022 Dakar Rally will take place in Saudi Arabia between 02 and 14 January 2022. Participants will cover a total distance of around 7,000 kilometres. You can read more about the 2022 Dakar Rally here.
Thoughts On Audi Sport's Electric Car Debuting At The 2022 Dakar Rally & Its Legendary Driver Lineup
Audi has a revolutionary approach to motorsport and the results of the revolution are seen almost immediately. While the purists might be cringing at the thought of an EV racing the sand dunes of the Dakar Rally, everyone knows that it is the right direction for the sport. The future is electric indeed, and all eyes are now on the 2022 Dakar Rally.
Also, we cannot wait to see Audi's Dakar Rally car, its specifications and the performance it is capable of. We're guessing it will put out over 1,000Nm of torque. What do you think?