If one manufacturer is missing from the World Rally Championship (WRC), it's Audi. The German marque exited the sport as a factory team in 1987 following the end of Group B. The team scored a total of 24 wins from 58 rallies using the legendary Quattro rally car. Since then, Audi has never stepped foot in the rally stages of WRC ever again.
Soon, however, an Audi will be competing in WRC once again. The best part, the Quattro name will be making a comeback as well. Mattias Ekstrom and partner JC Raceteknik recently revealed the Audi Quattro A1 Rally2. The A1 rally car is built to FIA and WRC regulations in cooperation with South African company Rally Technic.
As the name implies, the Quattro A1 rally car is built to Rally2 specs. The bodywork is also tame compared to the WRC cars fielded by Toyota, Hyundai, and Ford. That means this new Audi rally car run by the newly formed EKS JC team will be competing in the lower-tier WRC2 and WRC3 series, not the main stage against factory-backed teams.
Still, the hatchback packs quite a punch. The rally-prepped A1 packs a 1.6-liter turbocharged engine producing 263 horsepower paired to a 5-speed sequential gearbox. All that power is sent to all four wheels. Possibly the most interesting bit about the Quattro A1 is its livery. It features the same white with yellow stripes like the original Audi Quattro that competed in Group B.
If you noticed, there is no mention of the Quattro A1 rally car being backed by Audi. There are no Audi Sport stickers on the car either. Well, that's because they aren't a factory-supported team. Still, that's not stopping Ekstrom from pushing ahead. The rally driver even plans on building multiple examples for customer teams to purchase in the future.
So no, it's not an official Audi entry. But who knows, Ekstrom and his team might just attract Audi's attention and gain factory support in the future. Either way, it's great to see those four rings in rallying again.