Team Audi Sport boss Sven Quandt says that more discussions between competitors and the FIA are needed around the Equivalence of Technology following the completion of the 2023 Dakar Rally.
The ASO and FIA introduced modified engine parameters to the sporting regulations in the middle of last year in order to balance the performance levels from the hybrid RS Q e-tron E2 and the turbocharged petrol T1+ machines.
This meant a weight increase for the Audis which compete in the T1-Ultimate class and a drop of 30kW for the T1+ cars at sea level.
Audi was given a power increase of around 11hp (8kW) after four stages following analysis of acceleration conducted by the FIA and ASO, but Quandt says more talks are required to find the right balance between the pair of top-tier classes.
Asked by DirtFish if he thought the EOT changes had produced the desired effect, Quandt agreed that the speeds between cars was similar but that they didn’t take into account the longer braking times of the Audi car.
“You must understand that we only got 85% (of the power available) which we all agreed on before which is fine for this time, but after Dakar we have to see because we should normally get 100%.
“And I think then that will help a little bit but the overall thing they forget for example, is that we must brake as well and in a heavier car, it takes longer to brake. So, we need to discuss and see.
“We don’t want to have a car that is running in front all the time as everyone saw at the beginning, we want to have a car where we can fight fairly out in the desert. The fighting needs to happen there and not on the green table beforehand.
“But we can clearly say that the balance between the T1.U and the T1+ – and the balance within the T1+ – is not 100% given at the moment.”
Audi made its debut on the Dakar Rally last year and despite showing strong speed, all three cars suffered reliability woes, particularly surrounding the dampers.
It had been expected to challenge for the overall victory this year, but a crash for both Stéphane Peterhansel and Carlos Sainz on stage six, and mechanical issues for Mattias Ekström have meant it is another difficult Dakar for the team.
Despite these setbacks, Quandt – in his 30th edition of the Dakar having previously run operations at Mini through his X-raid outfit – has been satisfied with one aspect in particular so far.
“From our side, we are quite happy with everything, the technology worked perfectly,” explained Quandt.
“We had nothing where we would say now, we must improve really heavily, yes, the performance could be better obviously, but we are very good with the technology, and we must say that incidents we had were race incidents.
“I am here on my 30th Dakar, I’ve seen everything already so nothing that has happened is new. I have to say that this can always happen on the Dakar, things change very quickly and that is OK.
“You never plan the Dakar 100%, you can only react on a day-by-day basis and things can happen, we had misfortune and that’s what it was.”