Dakar on Ice: Ken Block Drives the Audi RS Q e-tron

Audi quattro A2

The first exhibit featured in the Audi Tradition app will be will be “Der fünfte Ring,” and it will focus on NSU.

Earlier this year, the Audi RS Q e-tron made history at the Dakar Rally, when it became the first hybrid vehicle to take a stage victory. Unfortunately, the overall crown wasn’t in the cards, as both mechanical issues and navigational miscalculations conspired to keep Audi Sport off the podium. But Dakar was just the beginning of the story for the RS Q e-tron, and after getting behind the wheel at Austria’s GP Ice Race, ace pilot Ken Block had great things to say about the next-gen competitor. Here’s the relevant bit from the Audi press release:

The laps in the Audi RS Q e-tron were a phenomenal experience – even though the car probably feels more comfortable in the desert than in the snow, said Ken Block. Thanks to Mattias Ekström, who patiently explained all the special features of his car to me. A few minutes behind the wheel was enough to understand the fascination of this car.

Swedish driver Ekström, who brought his RS Q e-tron to a ninth place finish at Dakar, also had kind words for Block, stating “It only took three turns for Ken to get fully up to speed.” Now, at this point, it’s a given that Audi Sport’s hybrid racer will return to Dakar next year, and given his experience with the desert race, it’s not outside the realm of possibility that Block could claim a driver’s slot.

In Austria, however, the focus was more on fun, as Audi also brought out some historic hardware to hoon on the icy circuit. For Block, the highlight was clearly driving the 1983 quattro A2, which he’s previously credited with inspiring his interest in motorsport. But the open cockpit the DKW Hartmann Formula V was even more of a throwback, and when parked next to the newer Audis, it highlighted just how much racing has changed over the last 60 years.

Though there are some great pictures from the GP Ice Race, there’s precious little video. That said, Block and Audi are currently working on the next installment in Block’s Gymkhana series. Dubbed Elektrikhana, the forthcoming video will feature an electric vehicle inspired by the legendary Audi Sport quattro S1, and knowing Block, it will push the boundaries of what’s possible in an earth-based vehicle.

Photos: Audi

Click HERE to join the AudiWorld forums!

Audi Prepares RS Q e-tron For Debut Run At the Dakar Rally

Audi RS Q e-tron Dakar Rally

As the 2022 Dakar Rally draws ever closer, the Audi Sport team shares an update on their RS Q e-tron tests in Germany, Spain and Morocco.

Rallying is in Audi’s blood. It’s where Ingolstadt changed the world forever by using all four wheels to deliver the goods in the Group B era of the early to mid-Eighties. Though it hasn’t been on the scene since then, the company hasn’t forgotten. Thus, in 2022, Audi will enter the Dakar Rally for the first time with another world-changing technology, living in the form of the RS Q e-tron.

Announced back in June, the RS Q e-tron uses Formula E-derived electric motors to deliver 671 horses to the terrain, according to Car and Driver. Those horses got a workout recently, as Audi themselves report in their latest installment of The Road to Dakar.

Audi RS Q e-tron Dakar Rally

“For Audi, the upcoming Dakar Rally means entering a new field in motorsport,” said Audi Sport managing director Julius Seelbach. “And the thing with new projects is, that there is no blueprint.”

With Audi Sport driver Carlos Sainz lending his skills to the RS Q e-tron, the Dakar Rally team began tests in Germany. After getting a rough idea of what the rally monster can do in close quarters, the crew moved on to Zaragosa, Spain. There, the RS Q e-tron took its first jumps like a pro. Finally, Morocco called out, ready to show everything it had, while allowing the same for the electric beast.

Audi RS Q e-tron Dakar Rally

“Coming here, obviously, it’s a great challenge for the car,” said Sainz. “Because we face new problems that we didn’t find in Europe. But this is why we are coming here, and this is where we need to learn what to do to solve these problems.”

Seelbach says the tests in Morocco were meant to demonstrate how well the RS Q e-tron would fare on the Dakar itself. The desert provided the most accurate environment in terms of climate and terrain. And with electric power on-board, a test for all EVs in the most extreme conditions overall.

Audi RS Q e-tron Dakar Rally

“Innovation takes time” said Seelbach. “And we look forward to getting it done. Until the day we are on the Dakar starting line, we will keeping pushing to present what we think is the next step into the future of motorsport.”

Click HERE to join the AudiWorld forums!

Cameron Aubernon’s path to automotive journalism began in the early New ’10s. Back then, a friend of hers thought she was an independent fashion blogger.

Aubernon wasn’t, so she became one, covering fashion in her own way for the next few years.

From there, she’s written for: Louisville.com/Louisville Magazine, Insider Louisville, The Voice-Tribune/The Voice, TOPS Louisville, Jeffersontown Magazine, Dispatches Europe, The Truth About Cars, Automotive News, Yahoo Autos, RideApart, Hagerty, and Street Trucks.

Aubernon also served as the editor-in-chief of a short-lived online society publication in Louisville, Kentucky, interned at the city’s NPR affiliate, WFPL-FM, and was the de facto publicist-in-residence for a communal art space near the University of Louisville.

Aubernon is a member of the International Motor Press Association, and the Washington Automotive Press Association.