All three of Audi’s electric hybrid RS Q e-tron E2 cars will receive an increase in maximum power output from Thursday’s fifth stage of the Dakar Rally following data analysis by the ASO and the FIA.
The analysis was conducted across the opening three stages of this year’s event, with the findings published shortly after the finish of Wednesday’s fourth test in Ha’il.
The change in technical regulation, which was released by the World Rally-Raid Championship committee, will be effective from tomorrow onwards.
In a statement, the organizers said: “Following the data analysis of the vehicles entered in the T1.U and T1+ classes on Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the 2023 Dakar Rally, the W2RC Committee decides, in accordance with Article V1 13.3 of the Cross-Country Rally Sporting Regulations [to] increase the maximum power of T1.U cars, as defined in Article 285-12 of Appendix J, by 8kW.”
Audi will therefore benefit from a new maximum power of 266kW, excluding the 2% efficiency coefficient within the Equivalence of Technology (EoT).
Electric cars like Audi – as well as other alternative energy vehicles – compete in a separate class to the T1+ machinery and therefore conform to slightly different engine regulations.
Turbocharged petrol T1+ cars are 100kg lighter than the T1.U machines but do not have the same power output at sea level as the Audis, dropping 30kW (or 42hp).
However, while Audi has a power correction at altitude, given it does not lose power or torque in the dunes, the T1+ cars are exempt from this reduction.
It’s all the efforts of balancing the performance between two sets of very different types of cars.
Prior to the Dakar starting, Toyota team principal Glyn Hall told DirtFish that a true sense of how the new regulations would play out may only be seen by the fourth or fifth day.
“We have to trust the FIA, there’s a lot of clever people there and we’ve done a lot of research this year alongside the FIA, doing various acceleration tests and a lot of meetings discussing the different parameters and how the engines work,” said Hall.
“So, we will only truly find out on day three or day four of the Dakar to see how close the regulations are.”
His counterpart at Audi Sven Quandt equally spoke of his uncertainty on how level the playing would be on the Dakar.
“Nobody knows really if the Equivalence of Technology is there or not for everybody. They call it an EOT but for me it is the BOP [Balance of Performance].
“In the end, it’s the acceleration in a straight line which they will measure, which is quite fair because we don’t know who is going to be faster.”
Audi is currently third and fourth in the Dakar. Its leading contender Stéphane Peterhansel is 18 minutes behind Toyota’s Nasser Al-Attiyah.