Jutta Kleinschmidt, the president of the FIA cross-country commission, rejected Carlos Sainz’s claim that the new Dakar regulations hurt Audi.
Audi driver for the 2022 Dakar Rally and the 3-time Dakar winner believes his team is at a disadvantage.
He expressed his feelings before the start of this year’s event. Sainz feels that the regulations fail to favor hybrid-electric engines. Instead, he claimed that his electric-powered Audi has “the same or less power and more weight” than his rivals’ gasoline cars.
However, Kleinschmidt feels this claim is false. She watched as Sainz’s Audi took victory in stage 3 and relatively consistently kept up with its rival cars. Sainz often finds himself in the upper positions of the rankings, hence why the cross-country commission president is dismissing Sainz’s comments.
“I cannot see that they are disadvantaged at the moment. If you are outside and you see them passing by, and if you see them at the start, and in the dunes, [they are quick],” Kleinschmidt told Motorsport.com.
“I see them everywhere because I’m in the helicopter, I can see them flying over the piste. So for me, there is definitely no disadvantage in power or even with the extra weight they have, they are very fast.
“[The fact that] they are overweight is not a regulation problem, this is actually because they couldn’t fit the weight they asked for.
“The minimum weight for these cars is now two tonnes. They are overweight but they asked for even less [minimum weight in the regulations] and we went even more up.
“So I’m very happy about it. I think we balanced it very well in my opinion and definitely not disadvantage them like Carlos said. The performance shows it. That’s why I’m very happy about our regulations and I think we did a great job.”