Unimaginable teamwork sees Audi full Stage 7 of the Dakar | Jobi Cool

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Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz helped get Ekström and Bergkvist again on the highway

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In the case of the Dakar Rally, teamwork may be regarded as a driver and navigator working in good concord to transform a stream of highway e-book notes into expertly traversing tough sand dunes and threading passes on the mountain. Nevertheless, for the Audi camp on day eight of the 2023 version of the off-road journey, teamwork signifies that your complete Ingolstadt secure will come collectively to assist injured colleagues over the road.

It was left to 2 of Audi’s electrified RS Q e-trons to battle Stage 7 on Saturday. It got here after 14-time occasion winner Stéphane Peterhansel was compelled to withdraw yesterday following accidents sustained by fellow driver Edouard Boulanger.

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For the primary a part of the 333km cost from the Saudi Arabian capital of Riyadh to Al Duwadimi, Mattias Ekström took management. Underneath heavy, overcast skies, he and co-driver Emil Bergkvist made progress as they snaked between canyons and valleys into first place after 196km. Extra impressively, this got here regardless of the bike class canceling their day attributable to dangerous climate and common exhaustion. That left the automotive class to choose their very own route by the panorama with out the assistance of any two-wheeled rails to observe.

“We actually loved the character of the stage,” explains Ekström. “The highway is actually stunning. That is the a part of this rally which I actually love. I really feel I can use my expertise. Then we got here to the regrouping, and we have been solely 20 seconds behind the automotive in entrance. I do know now we have move.”

Nevertheless, within the second a part of the run, caught in mud from the automotive in entrance, Ekström tagged a hidden rock within the sand to severely harm the wheel, tire and left rear suspension of the automotive. The one RS Q e-tron runner in rivalry for an total podium needed to anticipate the arrival of World Rally legend Sainz for assist. The Spaniard parked up and, alongside along with his co-driver and whiz mechanic Lucas Cruz, started handing out components to their teammates.

Ekström continued: “Simply after the regrouping zone, after lower than 30 seconds of driving, there was numerous mud. I stayed within the mud after which I acquired hit by a rock within the straight. I am unable to see it. We managed to disassemble our automotive and Carlos’s automotive and began mounting the brand new components. Then got here the mechanics. Total, I feel we would have liked about three hours. It is a large job.”

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All informed, to complete the stage of the half-marathon the place the drivers deserted the motorhomes to spend an evening tenting, Ekström completed in a time stage of virtually six and a half hours. He now occupies twenty first total.

With Sainz – who additionally encountered a technical glitch – breaking the spanners to assist his workforce mate, the tough maestro and three-time Dakar champ needed to anticipate the arrival of the Audi race truck to repair his RS Q e-tron earlier than the tip of the stage.

“At the moment began nicely,” stated Sainz. “Then the automotive stopped after the soar and we needed to do a reset. We continued however we overtook Mattias who was fixing the automotive. So, we stopped and gave him our left rear nook and tried to assist he continued. However he misplaced numerous time.”

Whereas Saturday’s chaotic occasions marked the primary time because the begin of the 2023 Dakar that no Audi featured inside the highest 10, a break was on the horizon for the tireless crew. Following tomorrow’s 345km return to Riyadh, Monday will convey a welcome relaxation day earlier than the second half of the rally.

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*This automobile proven right here is the Rally Dakar automobile that’s not accessible as a manufacturing mannequin. Closed course, skilled driver. Do not strive. The Audi RS Q e-tron combines an electrical drivetrain with an vitality converter system consisting of a TFSI engine and generator.

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