Danilo Petrucci Confirmed For The 2022 Dakar Rally

While a lot of MotoGP and other road racers spend time training on MX and off-road bikes, it’s being taken to a new level with Danilo Petrucci confirmed for the 2022 Dakar Rally.

The 31-year-old Italian will leave the Tech3 KTM Factory Racing team in the MotoGP paddock, at the end of the 2021 season. But after apparently consider a move to riding in the MotoAmerica series, he’ll race under the same colours for the Austrian manufacturer over sand dunes, as he switches from the RC16 to a KTM 450 RALLY for famous and challenging desert race.

Danilo Petrucci Confirmed For The 2022 Dakar RallyDanilo Petrucci will switch from MotoGP to desert racing in just a few weeks
Danilo Petrucci will switch from MotoGP to desert racing in just a few weeks

The 2022 Dakar will begin in the Middle East on January 1st, and cover 14 days and approximately 8,000 kilometres. It’s will be a big challenge, but one which could lead to 2022 FIM competition and a future in desert and enduro racing.

After 10 year in the MotoGP paddock, Petrucci is taking on a n
After 10 year in the MotoGP paddock, Petrucci is taking on a new challenge with the Dakar

Danilo Petrucci: “For me it is really a dream come true to race the Dakar. It’s an event I’ve always wanted to do since I was a child when I was watching video tapes of the Dakar Rally from the 80s and 90s. Now, thanks to KTM, this dream is coming true. First, I would like to thank KTM for this great opportunity; I think I will be the only rider that in just over one month has competed in MotoGP and then the Dakar Rally – so it is with great pride that I go there. My main target is just to finish the race and enjoy it. The first approach was to have some road book training with Jordi, he competed in the race many times and finished on the podium, so he has been great in helping me learn this special art. I had my first taste of riding the KTM 450 RALLY recently at an initial test in the Dubai dunes, where I was with KTM’s Dakar champions and I was able to learn so much from them – it was great to see them riding, and they were super nice and helpful to me. I hope the training for the next month will be enough; for sure it will be a tough race, but I am excited.”

Can Petrucci become a winner of both MotoGP races, and a Dakar event in the future?
Can Petrucci become a winner of both MotoGP races, and a Dakar event in the future?

Pit Beirer, KTM Motorsports Director: “Danilo’s talent and his character means he is one of the few elite level guys that we believe can make this radical move from the asphalt to the dunes. It’s a great story for a great guy. We want to thank him for his professionalism and all his efforts as part of the Tech3 team in our MotoGP project and now it’s time for another ‘world’!”

Want more motorcycling racing coverage? Click here. And if you’re tempted to follow in Petrucci’s footsteps, there’s a 2022 KTM 450 Rally Factory Replica currently for sale on eBay for £33,000.

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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.”

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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.

Audi Taps Ken Block to Aid With EV Development

Audi Taps Ken Block

It’s not clear exactly what the partnership between Ken Block and Audi means just yet. Except videos. Lots of cool videos.

Unless you’re a smart device — think light bulb or refrigerator — and you’ve been on the internet at all in the last decade, Ken Block needs no introduction. After all, this is the man who turned  precision-grade hooning into global stardom. And now, he’ll be working with Audi on the development of electric vehicles. According to a statement from Block, the partnership will “develop innovative projects and push the boundaries of electric mobility.” So yup, not a lot of detail there just yet.

But you don’t need a crystal ball to predict that Block will be put to work on the motorsport side, to exploit the expertise he gained during his tenures in Global RallyCross, Rally America, and the World Rally Championship. So bet that he’s already talking with Audi’s Dakar team on the RS Q E-Tron racer, the electric beast that hopes to conquer the world’s hardest rally event. Since Block has already podiumed on the Dakar Rally — in an EV, no less — his input will likely prove invaluable.

One thing we can be certain of? There will be videos. Lots of ridiculously entertaining videos showcasing the cool new electric tech Audi is working on. So even if you’re not a fan of electric cars or rally machines, there will certainly be something about this partnership that floats your boat. Personally, I’m looking forward to seeing Block do some proper work behind the wheel of the new e-tron GT. Though I do have to wonder if the complicated electric drive system will allow for the car control magnificence we’ve come to expect from the Gymkhana legend.

In talking about what drew him to partner will Audi, Block said classic Audi rally videos were what drew him to motorsport to begin with. But since he’s partnered with Subaru for his petrol-powered racing efforts, don’t expect any videos of him ripping around in a classic quattro S1. That said, we’re sure to hear — and see — more about this exciting partnership soon, so stay tuned. Because whatever’s next here? It’s certain to be epic as all hell. For now, watch the teaser below.

Photos: YouTube

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