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W2RC 2024: Audi faces historic €750,000 fine for pulling out of 2024 World Championship

W2RC 2024: Audi faces historic €750,000 fine for pulling out of 2024 World Championship

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The Audi team was expected to compete in the 2024 World Championship with its unique RS Q e-tron, making it its third and final season in the W2RC.

Despite all the good intentions, after the Dakar Rally, where the Audi team climbed to the top of the podium with its driver Carlos Sainz, the team announced that the RS Q e-tron programme will be discontinued and that it will not participate in any races in the current or future seasons of the W2RC.

However, the German manufacturer is likely to incur a significant financial cost as a result of this decision. The reason for this decision is that Audi had registered its racing team as a manufacturer for the entire 2024 W2RC season, in breach of Article 3.4.3 of the FIA Cross Country Rally Sporting Regulations.

The first sanction was imposed by the stewards of the Abu Dhabi Desert Challenge who penalised Audi for the absence from the second round of the season in accordance with Article 3.4.3.

The stewards decided to "impose a financial sanction of 750,000 euros on the manufacturer, Team Audi Sport, of which 562,500 euros is suspended, provided that no other similar infringements are committed during the 2024 World Championship".

Audi said: "Audi is terminating the Rally Raid project as planned after its third participation in the Dakar and the consideration of a possible participation in the 2024 World Rally Raid Championship has been rejected".

Audi said: "After an extremely high consumption of spare parts at the Dakar 2023, a very intensive testing programme in 2023 and the damage that occurred, as well as the very tough Dakar 2024, the majority of the prototype parts were worn out, as shown by an 'in-depth analysis'. The long production times for these unique parts can take up to two years due to the small number of highly specialised suppliers for the extremely complex prototypes built by Audi. This means that the conditions are not in place to guarantee Audi's participation in the World Rally Raid Championship for an entire season".

Audi has made it clear that it has no intention of competing in any other WRC event in 2024 and will be paying the full amount of the fine.

After the 2024 ADDC, Portugal's newest race - Portugal Rally-Raid - will miss the unique Audi RS Q e-tron at the start of next month as well.

 

Photo: Photo: A.S.O. / Antonin Vincent / DPPI

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