Electric Audi and emission-free truck attempt. The Dakar is also changing, he writes directly from the Cígler desert

Martin Cígler is the co-founder and chairman of the board of the IT holding Solitea, which is behind, for example, the popular iDoklad platform or the EET Dotykačka cash register system. For the past five years, however, he has also participated in the famous Dakar Rally in the Big Shock Racing team, where he is the driver of the accompanying vehicle and at the same time the photographer of Czech truck driver Martin Macík. .

The Dakar has entered its second half and you can see that the organizers have taken it to heart that no one takes advantage of the long stages in the rocky desert and that everyone can ride at full speed. Dakar is therefore much more technical this year, there are more stretches of sand and dunes. Technology is getting busier and even cyclists are getting a lot more of it into the body.

Audi also piloted its Dakar electric racing special Audi RS Q e-tron for the first time. The monopost has an electric motor for each axle, the two motors together have an output of 500 kilowatts (680 hp) and are powered by batteries with a capacity of 50 kilowatt hours and a weight of 370 kilograms.

It’s not quite an electric car. For anyone who has ever been interested in electric cars, it is clear that with these flashlights the car in the field would travel maybe twenty kilometers.

Audi RS Q e-tron on the Dakar 2022.

The car is therefore also equipped with a supercharged 2.0 TFSI four-cylinder petrol engine. It works in optimal mode as a generator, regardless of the speed and load of the car. Thanks to the 295 liter gas tank, it extends the autonomy quite a bit. Engine operating speeds are 4,500-6,000 rpm and Audi reports CO emissions2 no more than 200 grams for each kWh produced.

The taps are located in the floor, as well as a 295 liter tank. The RS Q-tron then carries two spare wheels on its sides, like the Dakar buggies. Before the start, I asked the legend, after the first half of the race, the leader of the car category and three-time Dakar winner, Náira Al-Attiyah, what he thought of this competition. The answer was simple: “The first day will show us.

After a week, we see that the concept is good, but this year it’s more testing than results. Desert fox Stéphane Peterhansel is only in the top ten with his Audi, a position we are definitely not used to seeing him in. And Audi’s best is fourteenth overall in the middle.

Automotive and oil smell enthusiasts must be very disappointed with the future. However, I think the time for this concept will come, the current order of the cars is due to technical breakdowns and this Dakar will be a good preparation for next year.

Personally, I assume Audi will get a very good result. A full twist from scratch is very noticeable on the trail. I have witnessed many times how Audi outpaces the competition in dune travel.

Macík’s father and son’s Big Shock Racing team is experiencing a development similar to that of Audi. The Dakar team built a total of four trucks, two in the team’s yellow colours, one for the Project 2030 team and one for the Italtrans team. This year, Big Shock Racing is one of the biggest teams in Dakar, with 37 people, plus other mechanics from the Dutch and Italian teams.

The two yellow trucks have undergone significant innovations since last year. Unfortunately, the coronavirus pandemic affected not only the testing capacities (the team only really arrived at the Rallye du Maroc), but also the logistics of supplying certain components. And the inability to sufficiently test the technology manifests itself in an environment where the trucks move entirely to the forward position.

The team has struggled with insufficient engine power from the start and it is a problem that cannot be eliminated in Dakar. Thus, the two yellow trucks in the first half of the race moved to the interface of the first and second ten – on the track they were relatively fast, but they were hampered by stops and the resolution of technical problems.

Moreover, Martin Šoltys had to give up the race for health reasons. In the sixth stage, after a violent shock, he breaks the ax, but especially painfully hits his back and allows himself to be transported by helicopter for treatment. Tests showed it was not a fracture, but Martin could not continue and flew to the Czech Republic.

Czech rally driver Martin Prokop on the Dakar.

And so the paradox of the team is that the sister trucks of the Project 2030 and Italtrans teams, whose pilots have significantly less experience than Martin Macík and Martin Šoltys, are only a short distance from Martin Macík, who is 11th in the middle of the Dakar. And Dakar Speed, which also uses technology from MM Technology, is even ahead of Martin Macik.

Twenty years of experience

MM Technology is a new project from Macík’s father and son, in which they have taken advantage of their twenty years of experience in the research and development of racing trucks. Martin Macík says about the project that it is a very successful and, above all, logical step. The development of a racing truck requires not only experienced people, but also hundreds of millions of crowns. Such a sum cannot be covered by sponsor contributions alone, so the commercial sale of racing trucks is a way to stay in the absolute top.

Dakar is of interest to the 2030 Project, led by Kees Koolen, among others the former owner of the Booking.com server and today a big fan of green technologies. Its current truck is the first step towards a purely carbon-free truck in 2030.

Effort for a 2030 carbon-free truck project by former Booking.com boss Keese Koolen.

A special design of mechanical parts is being tested there so that next year the current diesel engine can be replaced by an electric unit. His white truck is called Nicias.

I asked Koolen why he chose MM Technology to collaborate on this project, and the answer was simple: “It’s simple. Kamaz is not for sale, and the second best is Martin Macík’s yellow truck . »

There are more news this year. The FIA, which covers the current top five motorsport competitions, has decided to add a sixth World Rally Raid Championship.

It is in this championship that Dakar is now the first and most difficult race. The other four include the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge, Kazakhstan Rally, Andalusia Rally (not for trucks) and Morocco Rally.

However, Kamaz, De Rooy and Aleš Loprais did not participate in the World Rally Raid Championship this year, so the Big Shock Racing and Project 2030 teams share the medals for the stage victory as pioneers in the category. T5 (designation for racing trucks).

The Czechs are visible in Dakar this year

Martin Šoltys is not the only one not to finish the Dakar this year. David Pabiška also finished in stage four after a menacing crash. David has fourteen Dakars behind him and this will be the first not to finish.

The Czechs are very present in Dakar this year. Milan Engel is second in the brutal Male Moto by Motul category, in which bikers travel the entire Dakar without any assistance, only with a motorcycle and a red box with things, which is transported by truck between the bivouacs.

Nineteen-and-a-half-year-old Martin Michek is also off to a great start, and Honza Brabec, who is 24th, is living life in Dakar. Martin Prokop is ninth in car and the best Czech in truck is currently Aleš Loprais in fifth place.

Zdeněk Tůma is sixth in MTB, Josef Macháček ninth in SxS. And the Czech phenomenon is the singer Olga Lounová, who rides in the Dakar Classic category as a sailor. I recommend watching his social media, have fun.

However, the Dakar is won not only by the fastest, but above all by the one whose technology will work until the end. So pretty much anything can happen to the standings in the second half, and me, because I’m riding in Big Shock Racing colors, I believe the mechanics were able to fix what they could on a day off, and Martin ranks at the top Ten.

In the end, I will not forgive any of my experiences with technology. I’m like Audi or Big Shock Racing. I’ve used Microsoft Surface on the Dakar for years. The laptop withstood all the tests of the competition without any problems, just drowned for a bit and then slowed down – in motorcycle jargon “it fell into distress”. And so it ended up in the fridge for ten minutes a few times.

Came here this year with a Dell laptop, and it’s even more heat sensitive than Surface. After an hour it is simply overheated and can no longer be worked. And so I look with envy at the guys who left the Windows world and bought a new MacBook pro with new processors, they have no problem with urgency and the endurance of the flashlight is just amazing. Colleagues edit videos for just 20 hours from a flashlight.

So next time in Dakar with Apple.

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