Audi, which aims to be the first car manufacturer to fight for victory in the general classification of the legendary Rally Dakar with a vehicle equipped with an electrified powertrain, confirmed that the French Stéphane Peterhansel, the Spanish Carlos Sainz and the Swedish Mattias Ekström they will be your pilots.
“It is not an exaggeration to speak of a dream team. Stéphane is the most successful rider in Dakar history. Carlos has won this event and the World Rally Championship several times. And Mattias is one of the most versatile drivers in the world, with him we have already celebrated many successes in the past. In addition to speed, they all bring great experience and motivation to our team. And the same can be said of his co-drivers, who play an increasingly important role in the Dakar Rally ”, explained Julius Seebach, Director of Audi Sport GmbH.
"In the Dakar Rally, teamwork and reliability are crucial", says Sven QuandtDirector of Q Motorsport, who will be in charge of developing and putting the innovative vehicle on the track. “You need a united team, a super reliable car and experienced drivers. In the Dakar you cannot drive to the limit permanently, strategy is key. I am very happy that we will have three strong and renowned teams, we know their qualities very well ”.
Peterhansel, who has won the world's toughest raid in 14 occasions (six victories in motorcycle and eight in the car category), he was happy with the new challenge. “The Dakar is one of the latest adventures in this world, and it is on the verge of a radical change: the future is electric. In ten years everyone will be driving electric cars, and the Dakar is an extreme test for this technology. We want to be the first team to win the Dakar Rally with a car with electric propulsion technology. I am looking forward to taking on this ambitious project with Audi ”.
Sainz, two-time WRC champion and winner of the Dakar in 2010, 2018 and 2020, stressed that this project encourages him a lot. “Even at 59, I'm still hungry for success; otherwise I would not have accepted this new challenge ”, He explained. “The Audi quattro changed the World Rally Championship forever. Now we will try something similar at the Dakar Rally. Engineers have much more freedom here than in other races. I fully trust them and will try to contribute my experience to developing a fast and successful car. The Dakar is the ultimate challenge for an electric powertrain. It is a fantastic and extreme project and I can't wait to test the car for the first time. What I have seen so far gives me a lot of confidence ”.
While Ekström, the brand's benchmark in DTM and RallyCross, was also enthusiastic about being part of the Ingolstadt brand project. “The Dakar is undoubtedly one of the most exciting adventures of my career. Tackling this exciting project together with the team, with whom I have celebrated my greatest successes, is fantastic. Even though I'm going to be 43 years old, compared to Carlos and Stéphane I feel like a junior. In this sport you need a lot of experience in every way, and I still have a lot to learn. But I really want ”, said.