Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore dei Laghi, the first zero-impact Italian rally

Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore dei Laghi, the first zero-impact Italian rally

Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore dei Laghi

The splendid mountains around Cortina d'Ampezzo were the silent spectators of the first zero-impact Italian rally, run entirely with electric vehicles: we are talking about the Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore dei Laghi, an event that took place in recent days in the Dolomites 2018 is partner of the German brand.

The race was run over 24 consecutive hours aboard Audi Q4 e-tron and Audi RS e-tron GT by 24 crews - divided into 6 teams - composed of a journalist and a professional co-driver, a category in which important names in the Italian motorsport scene such as Fabrizia Pons, Dario Cerrato, Giorgio Francia and Pietro Liatti stand out. Each crew competed in 2 of the 8 stages, each of which was composed of a part of regularity on public roads, where it was required to respect precise speeds and travel times, and a part of a special test on 3 different lakes. frozen, Fedaia, Issengo and Pianozes. All this took place in accordance with the International Sporting Code of the F.I.A. and under the ACI regulations, with the presence of an ACISPORT Single Delegate Judge who was responsible for drawing up the classification of the regularity and special tests.

The race started on February 9, 2022 at 12.00 in the center of Cortina, and ended 24 hours later at the same point. For my part, coupled with the 2001 Italian Formula 3 champion Lorenzo Del Gallo, I ventured into the two stages foreseen by my team's program, Team 3: the first stage took place driving the Audi Q4 50 e-tron from 299 horsepower - a car that I had the opportunity to test in its Sportback version last September - and after a part of regularity marred by various problems (including a truck that made us accumulate a considerable delay, as it is very difficult to overcome in the mixed of the mountain roads around Cortina) we arrived at the small frozen lake of Pianozes for the first special stage.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh2_1"). is (": visible")) {console .log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh2_1 slot id: th_motorlabs_d_mh2"); } Waiting for us at the lake was a set of spiked tires, which were promptly mounted on the electron SUV of the Ingolstadt house to allow us to have more grip on the smooth and slippery surface of the ice: it was the first time I drove on ice, and it was an intoxicating experience to say the least, although the overall time recorded on the 8 laps was among the worst of that test.

But these are details, in a few days we will have forgotten all the times but the memory of all the oversteer exits will remain with me for a long time! At the end of the special stage we reassembled the road tires and left to conclude the stage, which brought us back to the Grand Hotel Savoia in Cortina where Audi set up its hospitality space and the parking dedicated to recharging the racing cars.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh3_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh3_1 slot id: th_motorlabs_d_mh3"); } The recharging of all the cars involved is undoubtedly one of the most complex organizational aspects for an event of this type, but fortunately Audi was very ready: arrived exclusively from Ingolstadt, a temporary hub was placed in the hotel car park able to quickly recharge cars in direct current. To put it more simply, it is a huge powerbank made up of old batteries that Audi has removed from electric cars: no longer efficient enough to power a car, these batteries find a second life as energy accumulators, and in this case they have allowed all cars to be recharged very quickly - between one stage and the next, about 20 minutes were expected to recharge the cars, so even consumption while driving had to be kept under control, because it was necessary to wait for the car battery to be 80% charged before being authorized to leave for the next stage.

The second stage of the Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore dei Laghi took place on board the very powerful Audi RS e-tron GT from 646 horses, and he took us to the lake of Fedaia. Wake up early, very early, because the departure was set at 3.53 in the morning: I took the GT e-tron RS out of the hotel parking lot about 20 minutes late - due to delays accumulated by the team in the various stages - and I driving in the dark of night, fortunately well contrasted by the powerful LED headlights of the German electric sports car.

The deserted and curvy road allowed me to enjoy the sporty performance of this car to the fullest, even though respecting the speeds imposed by the regulation: it may seem easy, but maintaining an hourly average of 53 km in a stretch of more than 20 km of bends and bends was not at all trivial, even if in this stage the result was much better. thanks to the absence of traffic. My light foot allowed us to conserve the battery well, and we arrived at Lake Fedaia shortly after 5 in the morning with more than 50% of charge available. Time to mount the spiked tires and launch at full speed in the second special stage, this time consisting of 4 laps that I managed to complete in just over 6 minutes: an excellent result, as the official rankings will later say, even if it is a individual result.

if (jQuery ("# ​​crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh4_1"). is (": visible")) {console.log ("Edinet ADV adding zone: tag crm_srl-th_motorlabs_d_mh4_1 slot id: th_motorlabs_d_mh4") ; } My co-driver, clearly more experienced than me in this context, has urged me on more than one occasion to "give her" to the Audi GT e-tron RS, but I'm not really sure I listened to him: we set the Dynamic mode to make the car more ready to respond to the unevenness of the ground - which on Lake Fedaia was snowier and more irregular than in the first special stage - and on the third lap I had already taken too much confidence, risking going long at the end of the icy straight!

On the mixed part of the course, with many tight turns left and right, the Audi GT e-tron RS behaved like a very precise pendulum, intelligently limiting power when the front wheels were still steered out of corners, but still allowing me some satisfying oversteer exits. On the road, even when stressed, Audi's high-performance electric never showed signs of being in trouble, not even when we crossed treacherous tongues of ice crossing the roadway.

After the special stage on Lake of Fedaia we covered the rest of stage 6, which took us to the Giau pass just when the first light of dawn began to touch the top of the surrounding mountains: a breathtaking spectacle that I only partially enjoyed, careful as I was to maintain the correct hourly average as required by the regulation. The descent from the Giau pass to Cortina allowed me to make the most of the car's regenerative braking, so as to return to the base with 26% of charge left, perfectly in line with what was expected.

I'm from just after 7 in the morning and I have finished my part of the race, now I just have to wait for 12 when the first edition of the Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore dei Laghi will be over, to understand how we positioned ourselves in rank as a team. In the meantime, I will be able to comfortably follow the progress of my team and of the other teams from the room that Audi has set up ad hoc with screens where you can follow, via GPS systems, the progress of the various cars. Unfortunately, also due to the lackluster performance in the first of the two stages in which I took part, we will finish only 4th in the general classification.

Over the 8 stages foreseen for the first Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore of the Lakes, the 12 cars covered a total of 5400 km, and each team covered 192 km of special stages on frozen lakes with 1200 pitons of tires: a total of 7 mountain passes were tackled, with the maximum altitude reached at 2239 meters above sea level of the Pordoi Pass. A total of 42 recharges were made, all managed conveniently by the Hub I told you about earlier, for an average of 42 kWh recharged at each refueling. The cars all behaved in an excellent way even when stressed, there were no particular technical problems except some nuts stripped during the tire change phase: in this regard, the average time to replace the tires was 4 minutes, but I can personally testify of a pit stop which took place in less than 2 minutes during which I didn't even have time to get out of the car.

Tired and happy, all the teams gathered on the terrace of the Grand Hotel Savoia kissed from a frighteningly hot sun to be February, to have lunch all together for the last time, to communicate the winners and to exchange last greetings before returning to their respective bases. Taking part in the first Audi e-Rally 20quattro ore dei Laghi was an absolutely unforgettable experience; we thank Audi for this fantastic opportunity.

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