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Video: could you survive the Dakar Rally’s 48-hour ‘marathon stage’?

The Empty Quarter, endless dunes and military rations. This is motorsports' ultimate endurance test

Audi faced a brand-new challenge for this year’s Dakar Rally: a 48-hour ‘marathon stage’. Yep, one of the world’s toughest races got tougher.

The halfway point of Dakar 2024’s twelve stages was an unprecedented 48-hour ‘marathon stage’, which promised to be exactly as punishing on both competitors and their machinery as its noble title suggested.

Saudi Arabia's desolate Empty Quarter was primed for a stage like no other. Measuring 1,000 kilometres (620 miles) long and 500 kilometres (310 miles) wide, this hyper-arid stretch of sand is populated only by local tribes and visited by the hardiest of souls.

Dakar's 48-hour marathon format meant competitors had until 4pm to get as far as they could along the 766km (476 mile) stage before pulling into one of eight temporary bivouacs dotted along the route. Once the three Audi RS Q e-trons had parked up, there would be no access to mechanics, mobile phones and only the most basic military rations and camping materials to get the drivers and navigators through the night.

Knowing tactics and teamwork would come into play, this is how Team Audi Sport conquered the Dakar Rally’s ultimate endurance test.

For more Audi performance stories, head this way

*This vehicle shown here is the Rally Dakar vehicle that is not available as a production model. Closed course, professional driver. Do not attempt. The Audi RS Q e-tron combines an electric drivetrain with an energy converter system comprising a TFSI engine and generator.

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