Al-Attiyah leads the rally by 18:18s over fellow Toyota Hilux driver Yazeed Al Rajhi (Overdrive Racing) after four stages of 14, but was left furious at the tweak which the hybrid RS Q e-trons will enjoy going forward.
The Cars competition is in fact comprised of a number of subclasses including T1+ into which the Hiluxes are entered and T1.U for alternative energy vehicles such as the aforementioned Audis.
A bulletin issued after the conclusion of Stage 4 reads:
Following the data analysis of the vehicles entered in the T1.U and T1+ classes on Stages 1, 2 and 3 of the 2023 Dakar Rally, the W2RC Committee decides, in accordance with Article V1 13.3 of the Cross-Country Rally Sporting Regulations:
- Increase the maximum power of T1.U cars, as defined in Article 285-12 of Appendix J, by 8 kW (new power: 266 kW excluding efficiency coefficient).
This decision is valid from Stage 5 of the 2023 Dakar Rally.
“They can measure it and see it, and so much that the Audi was running [at an advantage] … it turns out it wasn't running so much,” he said according to Spain's Marca.
“Welcome to that.
“They [FIA] have all the data to measure what accelerates one car and another, and I imagine that if they give us eight kilowatts, which is 11 horsepower, then they will have seen that we are missing something.
“I have always said that I don't want to carry more power, what I want is for the cars to be equal – the power and the weight.”
Al-Attiyah, however, teed off on social media when he posted a screenshot of the relevant bulletin.
“What a surprise to give our main rival 11 HP more!!!” wrote the Qatari on Instagram.
“Thank you for killing the race early.”
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