Danilo Petrucci, Ducati, Audi in Sardegna for DesertX, RS Q e-tron showcase

Danilo Petrucci went to Sardegna with Ducati and Audi for a special event with the DesertX and RS Q e-tron Dakar rally car.

Danilo Petrucci on Ducati DesertX with Carlos Sainz in Audi RS Q e-tron, Sardegna promo. - Ducati Media

DUCATI and Audi have taken part in an event together in Sardegna showcasing the two brands’ off-road ventures. 

The Ducati DesertX launches in the end of May, and to showcase its off-roading abilities, Ducati has sent it to Sardegna with Danilo Petrucci to take on the Audi RS Q e-tron. 

Petrucci is of course most well-known for his exploits in MotoGP, where he became twice a winner with Ducati, firstly in Mugello in 2019, and then again in Le Mans in 2020. 

But the Italian distinguished himself from every other Grand Prix rider in the history of the sport this January when he won a stage at the famous Dakar rally, which this year took place in Saudi Arabia. 

For Audi’s part, their RS Q e-tron became the first hybrid car to win a stage at the Dakar earlier this year, and one of its drivers, Carlos Sainz (who took two of the RS Q e-tron’s four stage wins in this year’s Dakar), is also a two-time World Rally Champion, a three-time Dakar winner (2010, 2018, 2020), and was the first non-Nordic driver to win the Finnish 1000 Lakes Rally. 

About the RS Q e-tron, Sainz said, “What Audi has achieved with this concept is technically unique and a real benefit for us drivers. The event in Sardinia was great to communicate the benefits of the electric drive. All the media were impressed throughout”.

Another of the RS Q e-tron’s pilots, Stephane Peterhansel, is a motorsports legend in his own right. Two times a World Enduro Champion, Peterhansel has won the Dakar three times in succession, and six times in total, on two wheels with Yamaha. The Frenchman also has eight wins in the Dakar in cars (three with Mitsubishi, three with Mini and two with Peugeot).

So, it was well and truly an all-star line-up between Ducati and Audi in Sardegna, where, incidentally, the WRC will be hosting the fifth round of its 2022 season in the beginning of June. 

On the part of the DesertX, it is the bike with which Ducati enters the mid-displacement maxi enduro market. With its 937cc engine producing 110 horsepower and 92Nm, Ducati hopes the DesertX will be able to compete with the likes of the Triumph Tiger 900, or KTM 890 Adventure or even a Tenere 900 from Yamaha, which is anticipated.

In Sardegna, Petrucci ran the DesertX on a technical off-road track alongside Sainz, with the Ducati featuring a special paint job mirroring that of the RS Q e-tron. 

The one-off paint was designed by Centro Stile Ducati, whose Director, Andrea Ferraresi, said, “When we saw the RS Q e-tron for the first time, we couldn't help but imagine it in action among the dunes and rocks together with the DesertX.” 

“This event gave us the opportunity to do so and so we decided to create an exclusive livery, inspired by the colours and graphics of the Audi prototype,” Ferraresi continued. “Seeing cars and motorcycles together off-road is truly a great show,” he said.

The Ducati DesertX will be making a ‘tour’ of Ducati’s UK dealers starting next week on 12 May, and will be available in European dealers from the end of May, including in a de-powered version aimed at A2 licence holders.