The first season of the hybrid era of the Dakar Rally, to be held in 2022, will feature a re-empowered Audi team that has just announced a prestigious roster of drivers and a car that promises to blow fans away.
The lineup of riders will be headed by none other than Stéphane Peterhansel, Mattias Ekström and the triumphant return of Spaniard Carlos Sainz. Peterhansel will seek his 15th victory in this competition, having achieved victory six times on a motorcycle and eight times in a car.
On his side, Ekström has two DTM titles and one World Rallycross titles to his name, while Sainz boasts a two-time World Rally Cross championship and a three-time Dakar winner. Edward Boulanger, Lucas Cruz and Emil Bergkvist complete the team. The latter was the junior world rally champion in 2018 and made his debut this year at the Dakar in the side-by-side category.
A movie car
As if the star squad that Audi will have behind the wheel is not enough, the vehicle that will debut in the tournament also promises to have a high range of technology.
According to the manufacturer, which has not yet published the details about the machine, the car will be powered by a powerful electric transmission. The power required for this comes from a high-voltage battery, which can be charged as needed while driving through a high-efficiency TFSI motor power converter.
The goal is to permanently improve the performance of the electric drive and battery for years to come. The experience gained in this process should be incorporated into the subsequent development of future electrified production models, according to the brand’s communications department.
Lucas Cruz, one of the drivers designated to venture into the 2022 Dakar season, noted that “Audi is the first manufacturer to introduce a car of this type.”
“It is important and positive for our sport to take this step and rely on new energy in the most difficult motorsport event in the world. It is very difficult in the Dakar Rally. Audi dares to do something that no one has done before. It’s the future,” he assured.
According to the regulation analyzed by the International Automobile Federation, in 2022 there will be up to four types of vehicles. The T1 E will arrive, a category that will include hybrids (AUDI) and, if they come to fruition, the hydrogen ones and the T1 +, a kind of combustion super T1 that will be able to compete from next year and where Toyota and Prodrive will be able to take an important step forward.
Written by I Jhonattan González