Prodrive: Audi can “kill” Dakar competition in 2023

Stephane Peterhansel (FRA) of Team Audi Sport races during stage 11 of Rally Dakar2022 around Bisha, Saudi Arabia on January 13, 2022. Credits: Red Bull Content Pool.

The Prodrive chairman David Richards is concerned that Audi will be too quick at next year’s Dakar Rally.

Audi made their Dakar debut in 2022 with the hybrid RS Q e-tron car. Though none of their drivers were in contention for the overall victory, they managed to win 4 stages and often were in contention for the top positions.

Richards thinks that the FIA needs to make sure Audi will not be unreachable at the 2023 Dakar Rally.

“I think we have to find a good balance now because it’s very clear this year it will be between Toyota and ourselves, but everyone knows that the Audi is way faster than all our cars now,” he told Motorsport.com.

“It’s the fastest car by a long way. So we have to find a balance so everyone has an equal competition. And that’s the job for the FIA to achieve that. Otherwise, Audi would come and kill the sport. So we have to sort that out. 

“It’s very hard for the FIA at the moment to get control when you have new technologies. And so we have to give them some benefit [of the doubt], to have some time to analyze the data and to get everything equal again. 

“I think between ourselves and Toyota, we can’t argue at all. It seems very fair. I spoke to Seb, I spoke to Nasser [Al-Attiyah], everyone seems to think we are very equal in between Toyota and ourselves. 

“But clearly the performance of the Audi is at a different level. They are 200kg overweight and they are still a lot faster than our car. So if they had been reliable they would have won by an hour, easily. 

“The FIA will have to address that problem because the FIA committed to making everything level, so I trust in them for that.”

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