In its 45-year history there’s never been an “easy” Dakar Rally. And for 2023 the world‘s most iconic off-road race didn’t hold back on its label as one of the toughest battles on the planet. Audi Sport knew things weren’t going to be easy. It was all part of the deal when the famous four rings signed up to one of the greatest challenges in motorsport, endeavouring to break new technological ground and accelerate its electrified future in the process.

Having competed for the first time in 2022, Audi Sport was no longer a rookie; the Neuburg outfit had a year’s worth of experience, multiple stage successes and an Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge win under its belt. Plus, for this year, a lighter, more aerodynamic and fully optimised version of its RS Q e-tron – the unique, daring and brain scrambling Dakar racer with an alternative drive concept that combines an electric drivetrain with a high-voltage battery and a highly efficient energy converter.

The updated RS Q e-tron proved its inherent speed with 14 stage podiums and three days spent in the overall lead, plus a stellar reliability record that showed electrified powertrains can comfortably battle with more traditional internal combustion engines on sand, in floods, through mountain passes and over enormous desert dunes.

But after winning the Prologue on New Year’s Eve, coming first in a further 14 stages, and completing 8,895km of driving through the heart of Saudi Arabia, Audi crossed the finish line and ended the 2023 Dakar with a sense of unfinished business.

“The Dakar showed that it’s one of the hardest races in the world,” Rolf Michl, Managing Director of Audi Sport, said. “This year, it was really tough. Your world can change within one day. Of course, it was the decision that Audi Sport went to the Dakar to prove that electrification can stand up to these hardest of conditions. The technology works very well. For me, the end of the Dakar Rally 2023 is really the beginning of the preparation for Dakar 2024. Our preparation starts now. For sure, we will be back even stronger!”

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