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Ken Block thrilled with the Audi RS Q e-tron

This was a car swap of a very special kind: with Mattias Ekström as the instructor in the co-driver’s seat, Ken Block tested the Audi RS Q e-tron with start number 224 on snow and ice. The outing during the GP Ice Race in Zell am See in Austria was the spectacular prototype’s first appearance after its successful debut in the famous Dakar Rally.

The Audi RS Q e-tron, with which Audi clinched four stage victories in January, was just one of the stars on the icy course in Zell am See. Audi Tradition also brought along the Audi quattro A2 Group B rally car, which competed in the 1983 Rally Finland. In addition, a DKW F 91 and a DKW Hartmann Formula V caused quite a stir.

For Ken Block, the weekend trip to Europe was like a visit to automotive paradise.

“The laps in the Audi RS Q e-tron were a phenomenal experience – even though the car probably feels more comfortable in the desert than in the snow,” said Ken Block. “Thanks to Mattias Ekström, who patiently explained all the special features of his car to me. A few minutes behind the wheel was enough to understand the fascination of this car.”

Ken Block, Audi quattro Rallye A2 Gruppe B

Mattias Ekström was impressed. “It only took three turns for Ken to get fully up to speed,” said the Swede, who, with ninth place, was the most successful Audi driver in the 2022 Dakar Rally. For Ekström, the event in Austria was also the perfect preparation for his participation in the prestigious “Race of Champions”, which was held in the north of Sweden last weekend. Ekström only had to admit defeat to the eventual winner Sébastien Loeb in the semifinals.

In addition to testing the Audi RS Q e-tron, Ken Block also took a little trip down memory lane and drifted around the circuit in the Audi quattro A2. For the American, who was inspired by Audi rally cars as a teenager, this was a personal highlight: “An insane moment that I won’t forget in a hurry.” Soon there will be even more moments like this: With the purely electric Audi S1 e-tron quattro Hoonitron, which Audi developed as a one-off exclusively for Ken Block and which was inspired by the Audi Sport quattro S1, the Hoonigan team is producing a video entitled Electrikhana that will be released in the next few months and will be the latest chapter of their Gymkhana series.

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Flying Spur Hybrid crosses Iceland on renewable energy

Using only energy from waste straw and the power of the planet, an engineering prototype Flying Spur Hybrid has completed a dramatic test as part of the car’s sign off and Bentley’s development of renewable fuels. The Azure Purple Flying Spur Hybrid covered the 733 km (455 miles) required to drive across Iceland in a single stint and entirely on renewable power, through a combination of 100 per cent second generation biofuel and geothermally-sourced electricity available from the Icelandic power grid.

The journey is validation both of the grand touring range of Bentley’s new Hybrid – the second to be launched following the Bentayga Hybrid – and of Bentley’s research into biofuels that can be used without engine modification. The fuel used conforms to the same EN228 standard as ordinary pump gasoline, yet is created entirely from waste biomass (e.g. straw) at no cost to food production or the natural ecosystem. The combination of this fuel and the Flying Spur Hybrid’s intelligent electrified powertrain meant an overall reduction of 45 per cent in CO2 emissions on a well-to-wheels basis over the course of the adventure.

The Flying Spur Hybrid represents Bentley’s next step on a journey to becoming the world’s most sustainable luxury mobility company, as laid out by the brand’s Beyond100 strategy. Market introductions across the world begin in 2022.  This will see all models in the range offered with a hybrid powertrain by 2024, ahead of the company’s first full BEV by 2025.

Photos: Bentley

Bentley’s Member of the Board for Engineering, Matthias Rabe, said: “With the launch of the Flying Spur Hybrid we now have a hybrid range at Bentley, and with this challenge we’ve proved the real benefit of a hybrid – the ability to have an unimpeded grand touring reach of more than 450 miles, while still having usable electric-only range for urban environments. It’s truly the best of both worlds, especially when the use of innovative second generation biofuel means a huge drop in CO2 emissions. We’ll continue working with such fuels in the coming months as part of our development process, with the end goal of a customer-facing solution.”

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Automobili Lamborghini together with Movember for men’s health

Throughout the month of November, Automobili Lamborghini will officially join as a partner of Movember, the world’s leading men’s health charity, through a fundraising and awareness campaign. Funds raised throughout the month will go towards mental health and suicide prevention, prostate cancer and testicular cancer.

The highlight of the campaign will take place on Saturday, November 6, when some 1,500 Lamborghinis will take to the streets of major cities around the world to spread awareness of important health issues with a single collective gesture. The participating Lamborghinis will sport hoods decorated with stickers in the shape of a moustache, the movement’s symbol. The cars will parade in cities including New York, London, Sydney, Bangkok, Rome and Cape Town. Customers from all over the world, invited to take part in the Bull Run organised by 92 Lamborghini dealers, will participate in the campaign to spread Movember’s message. During this time, the foundation will open a fundraiser on a dedicated platform (https://bit.ly/3AL7aNO), where donations can be made.

Photos: Automobili Lamborghini

Stephan Winkelmann, chairman and CEO of Automobili Lamborghini, said: “Through this partnership, Lamborghini wants to actively contribute to the crucial issue of health and support research, by raising awareness among its community of fans and customers. This is a perfect parallel to the many initiatives that we have been carrying out internally for years in favour of the psycho-physical well-being of our people. These include health-screening and prevention projects, to schemes supporting diversity and inclusion and numerous social initiatives, which make Lamborghini an ethically responsible industrial entity.”

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