Rewrite paths work differently inside a
<Directory > context. The path you are matching is the full filesystem path with the current directory (including the trailing slash) removed.
The effect of this is that you need to remove the leading slash from your regex and the replacement or move the rewrite rule outside the directory context where it will be matching the URI instead of a filesystem path.
Note that a
.htaccess file is implicitly in a directory context because it is in a directory.
You also shouldn't have a caret in the replacement. The second argument is not a regex.
You mentioned a redirect in your question. To make that happen you need
[R] or one of the more specific codes (
[R=303]) after the second argument.