Europe 1 with AFP 7:24 p.m., January 4, 2023

Audi hybrids will be allowed to ramp up from Thursday by the equivalent of nearly 10 horsepower, according to a rule change announced Wednesday by the International Automobile Federation (FIA) and Amaury Sport Organization on day four. of the Dakar Rally in Saudi Arabia.

The engines go more heated.

Audi hybrids will be allowed to increase their power by 10 horsepower according to a new rule published in a press release.

On the first day of the Dakar, December 31, the performance of the elite cars (T1+ and T1U - the Audi hybrid RS Q e-tron -) had been reduced in order to bring the performance of the amateur cars closer to that of the official teams, which had made some large stables cringe.

The power had been lowered for this category by 42 hp or 30 kw, while that of the T1.2 (two-wheel drive) had been increased by around 20-25 hp.

On Wednesday, according to the results of the data collected during the first three stages, on January 1, 2 and 3 on vehicles of the T1+ and T1U categories, the committee of the world rally championship "W2RC decides to increase the maximum power of the T1U cars (...) of 8 kw", or the equivalent of 10 horses, indicates a press release signed by the representative of the FIA, Jérôme Roussel, and the boss of the Dakar, David Castera.


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Allow Audi to return

The decision comes into effect from the fifth stage on Thursday and comes as the hybrid Audis occupy 3rd and 4th places in the provisional general classification led by Qatari Nasser Al-Attiyah (Toyota), with Frenchman Stéphane Peterhansel (+18 min 52 sec ) and Spaniard Carlos Sainz (+32 min 55 sec).

"Clearly this decision is to give the advantage to Audi and allow them to come back. We are in the lead but they will come back to us. It is not in the sense of fairness as it is written on paper. in any case", reacted Mathieu Baumel, co-pilot of Al Attiyah.

"Sportingly, we apply the regulations. He said: "whoever was not at the level should, whether he was first, last or otherwise, have compensation", explains David Castera. "And no, the Audis do not crush nobody," he said.


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Next point on January 8

"We based ourselves on all the data collected by the FIA, we have boxes on all the cars, the accelerations, the performance tests, etc... (...) and the only car which was not completely at the level of what was planned, this is the one. We simply readjusted it”, he continues.

These data checks will continue, "we have new terrain, new soil, and if tomorrow it's the opposite, the Audi will go down", assured the boss of the Dakar.

A next point will be made on January 8.

The Dakar-2023, the first round of the rally-raid world cup which is rooted for the fourth consecutive year in the sands of Saudi Arabia, started on December 31 for more than 8,000 km in two weeks, with an arrival on January 15 in Dammam.