Audi recently made headlines in the rally racing world by entering an electrified race car into the famous Dakar Rally race. The car in question, the Audi RS Q e-tron, uses an electric powertrain but a gas-powered engine to provide the energy for the electric motors. It’s quite a fascinating car but all of the technology in the world won’t help if you get lost during the race, which is what happened when controversial directions caused Audi Sport driver Carlos Sainz, along with many other drivers, veered off course.
The official roadbook, given to teams by the Dakar organizers, showed there was a tricky fork in the route, which seemed to confuse more than one team. The confusion cost several teams a ton of time off the leaders, including 1 hour and 44 minutes for the Audi Sport team.
Audi Sport looked into filing a complaint with the organizers. “We have had many discussions in the last 24 hours and we still consider that the roadbook was not correct,” said Sven Quandt, head of Audi’s Dakar partner Q Motorsport.
“If it was an average course of 10º and then we have to go in a 280º direction, I think the deviation is a bit big, let’s put it this way. A lot of competitors were lost and this is what is really surprising. At the moment, the organizer hasn’t accepted anything and says he’s done everything right, which is a pity, because you shouldn’t be racing like this,” he continued.
However, Audi won’t be appealing this, as there are provisions in the rulebook that prevent race teams from doing so. According to the rule book, the route is looked over by professionals and is therefor final, with no appeals possible. Tough break for Audi Sport and any other team that suffered similar confusion, especially since the Audi RS Q e-tron is such an exciting car. It would be a shame if that confusion cost it success in Dakar.