Direct report Dakar 2022: “Like being in the middle of a Mad Max movie”

Photo reporter Magnus Fröderberg is in Saudi Arabia and follows the Dakar Rally with extra focus on Audi’s investment with a Swedish driver pair.

It looks sunny down there? Is it sweaty?

– Running around in the desert and looking for nice photo angles can admittedly be a bit sweaty, but it is not more than 17 degrees that is warmest in the middle of the day. In the morning and evening it is quite chilly.

How is the feeling in place?

– The desert environment is of course exotic for a Scanian. Add extreme cars and trucks that come roaring in nearly 200 jerks through the desert where large herds of dromedaries cross the road. The impression is very extreme, as in a Mad Max movie.

Mattias Ekström and Emil Bergkvist in their Audi RS Q e-tron just before the start of the morning.

Why is Audi investing so much in the Dakar Rally?

– It is difficult to get a straight answer to that question, but if Audi succeeds well in the coming years, it can make people open their eyes to electric cars. In many parts of the world, such as here in Saudi Arabia, electrification has not yet begun. I have not seen a single electric car or charging post during the days I have been down here. Gasoline costs five kroner a liter and diesel, which only trucks refuel, costs two kroner a liter.

Electric cars in all glory, but does it work to drive an electric car during a long race in the desert?

– The main advantage is that you do not have to change gears. The car always has full power in all situations and driving becomes more relaxed and efficient. However, the Audi RS Q e-tron is not a pure electric car. The driveline is completely electric, but since the electric motors consume a lot of electricity, there is a two-liter petrol engine that spins at a fixed speed and charges the battery. The regular cars have a 500-liter tank, but the Audi cars can handle 200-300 liters.

But electric cars are usually heavy, right?

– Yes, and so here too. The minimum weight is 2,000 kg, but Audi cars weigh 150 kilos more than that. This is a disadvantage that must be worked out next year.

Can you think of anything more down there?

– It takes a long time to get between the different places where we check out the competition, so there is not much more time. But today, Audi had fixed four Q5 Sportback 45 TFSIs that we had to drive in the dunes together with an instructor. They had fat off-road tires and full desert equipment including a roll bar and a four-point belt. Some journalists who drove too aggressively or too cautiously got stuck.

Audi Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI adapted for desert driving.

Can you think of anything more down there?

– It takes a long time to get between the different places where we check out the competition, so there is not much more time. But today Audi had fixed four Q5 Sportback 45 TFSI if we could drive in the dunes together with an instructor. They had fat off-road tires and full desert equipment including a roll bar and a four-point belt. Some journalists who drove too aggressively or too cautiously got stuck.


A long report about the Dakar Rally and Audi’s investment will be published in the magazine Auto Motor & Sport and here on mestmotor.se.

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Source: Senaste nytt från auto motor & sport by www.mestmotor.se.

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