There have been excessive fives throughout Audi. On the finish of greater than two weeks of robust competitors that added 8895km to the journey laptop of its electrified RS Q e-tron, Mattias Ekström and co-driver Emil Bergkvist reached the end of the 2023 Dakar Rally. Your entire group welcomed them to have a good time a ultimate podium end that made it 5 in a row.
The world’s iconic Rally Raid occasion didn’t maintain again on its model as one of many hardest races on this planet this 12 months. However the sheer velocity proven by its Swedish duo within the second week ensures that Saudi Arabia’s journey ends on a excessive. Having posted the second quickest time in Sunday’s 14th and ultimate stage, 4 extra spots had been recovered within the general order to advertise the #211 entry to 14th within the ultimate classification.
The 136km aggressive component to day 16 was not anticipated to favor Ekström. True, he left the sands for the sprint from Al-Hofuf to the checkered flag in Dammam. Which means he can use his expertise of muddier, flatter terrain on a extra conventional Dakar seashore stage. However, after a latest run of podium outcomes, the automobile can be third on the course. With waves lapping on the shore within the Arabian Gulf, there aren’t any traces within the sand for Ekström to make use of as a pure route information.
In-form Sébastien Loeb took to the stage first and set the sixth-fastest time in favor of the difficult-to-navigate circumstances. Nevertheless, after greater than an hour on the set route, Ekström was a full three minutes sooner than the World Rally legend to complete because the day’s runner-up. He was simply 96 seconds behind Guerlain Chicherit, who began ninth. That consequence took Audi’s occasion whole in 2023 to 14 stage podiums and a prologue and Stage win from the 15-day run.
“It was very muddy and it was very troublesome to see the traces as a result of we ran so early,” Ekström stated. “Nature is just not actually pleasant: the traces are seen, the camel grass is tough once we arrive, there are lots of waypoints. I feel we did a very good job. We tried every part to win the stage however the benefit for boys who got here later had been a bit too large.
“I feel, for the second, we’re pleased that it’s over. After the remainder day, our rally was good. We are going to go house, suppose, analyze, make a brand new plan, and are available and check out once more in a 12 months.”
The odyssey from the west to the east of Saudi Arabia culminated with Crew Audi Sport coming into top-four finishes in all the final six levels. So, you suppose it is time to take a break. Certainly, after coping with quite a few potholes, floods, and crash repairs, the mechanics bought their annual trip. However Bergkvist thinks he has lots left within the tank.
“It is laborious to open the highway when there isn’t any line and there is a variety of mud,” stated the co-driver. “I feel we can be pleased within the second week. I feel we will do higher. When you ask me to go for every week, I’ll undoubtedly go. However we completed fortunately, to get the automobile house.”
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*This automobile proven right here is the Rally Dakar automobile that isn’t out there as a manufacturing mannequin. Closed course, skilled driver. Do not attempt. The Audi RS Q e-tron combines an electrical drivetrain with an vitality converter system consisting of a TFSI engine and generator.