VW Touareg takes Dakar Rally one-two-three finish

January 18th, 2010 by Darren Cottingham

VW Touareg Dakar 2010

Volkswagen has won the Dakar Rally for the second time in succession and including 1980 for a third time. After a ‘showdown in blue’ the Volkswagen duos and their TDI powered Race Touareg prototypes celebrated a one-two-three podium lockout at the finish of the toughest challenge in motorsport. In the process, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz triumphed by only 2 minutes 12 seconds ahead of his team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk in a thrilling finale on the closing 202 kilometre sprint on the 14th and final rally day. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford claimed third position. Last year’s winners Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz finished seventh.
VW remains the only manufacturer to have won the car category of the Dakar Rally with diesel power. TDI technology was already dominant in 2009 in Argentina and Chile. In addition to the efficiency of the Volkswagen Group’s diesel direct injection technology the Race Touareg’s reliability was the key to the 2010 “Dakar” victory: Despite the extreme demands the powerful 300 hp Race Touareg proved to be not only the most robust, but also the fastest vehicle: Seven of 14 possible stage victories and eleven days in the lead were credited to the four-wheel drive racers from Wolfsburg.
The result of the rally kept observers and fans alike on tenterhooks up to the finish line: Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford led in this order since the fifth Dakar Rally stage. However, at no point did any driver duo have an unassailable lead. In a strong final burst Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk edged ever closer, repeatedly taking seconds from their Volkswagen team mates Sainz/Cruz and, in doing so, staged a hard but fair duel for the leading position. The Qatari/German duo made up ground specifically in the dune sections — which once again formed one of the “Dakar’s” core elements — while the Spanish duo Sainz/Cruz controlled proceedings on the fast, twisty gravel sections.
As varied as the fight in the overall standings was — two stage wins went to Sainz/Cruz, four to Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk, one to Miller/Pitchford. So challenging proved the 32nd running of the Dakar Rally: In addition to the varied stages across soft, in part powder-like sand and through towering and endless dune fields of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile there were also gravel sections and tracks through enormous boulder fields on the agenda. The multi-faceted acid test with its terrain changing several times a day, two Andes crossings, passages through the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, as well as parts of the legendary Pampa.
For the new “Dakar” champions Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz a winning streak continued in front of millions of fans lining the daily stages in Argentina and Chile. As newly formed duo in the Volkswagen Race Touareg the Spanish pair remained unbeaten in their third competition together and secured a new superlative in “Dakar” history: Never before have two Spaniards won the legendary desert rally’s automobile category.

Volkswagen has won the Dakar Rally for the second time in succession and including 1980 for a third time. After a ‘showdown in blue’ the Volkswagen duos and their TDI powered Race Touareg prototypes celebrated a one-two-three podium lockout at the finish of the toughest challenge in motorsport. In the process, Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz triumphed by only 2 minutes 12 seconds ahead of his team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk in a thrilling finale on the closing 202 kilometre sprint on the 14th and final rally day. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford claimed third position. Last year’s winners Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz finished seventh.

VW remains the only manufacturer to have won the car category of the Dakar Rally with diesel power. TDI technology was already dominant in 2009 in Argentina and Chile. In addition to the efficiency of the Volkswagen Group’s diesel direct injection technology the Race Touareg’s reliability was the key to the 2010 “Dakar” victory: Despite the extreme demands the powerful 300 hp Race Touareg proved to be not only the most robust, but also the fastest vehicle: Seven of 14 possible stage victories and eleven days in the lead were credited to the four-wheel drive racers from Wolfsburg.

The result of the rally kept observers and fans alike on tenterhooks up to the finish line: Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford led in this order since the fifth Dakar Rally stage. However, at no point did any driver duo have an unassailable lead. In a strong final burst Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk edged ever closer, repeatedly taking seconds from their Volkswagen team mates Sainz/Cruz and, in doing so, staged a hard but fair duel for the leading position. The Qatari/German duo made up ground specifically in the dune sections — which once again formed one of the “Dakar’s” core elements — while the Spanish duo Sainz/Cruz controlled proceedings on the fast, twisty gravel sections.

As varied as the fight in the overall standings was — two stage wins went to Sainz/Cruz, four to Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk, one to Miller/Pitchford. So challenging proved the 32nd running of the Dakar Rally: In addition to the varied stages across soft, in part powder-like sand and through towering and endless dune fields of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile there were also gravel sections and tracks through enormous boulder fields on the agenda. The multi-faceted acid test with its terrain changing several times a day, two Andes crossings, passages through the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, as well as parts of the legendary Pampa.

For the new “Dakar” champions Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz a winning streak continued in front of millions of fans lining the daily stages in Argentina and Chile. As newly formed duo in the Volkswagen Race Touareg the Spanish pair remained unbeaten in their third competition together and secured a new superlative in “Dakar” history: Never before have two Spaniards won the legendary desert rally’s automobile category.

VW Amarok official support vehicle for 2010 Dakar Rally

November 18th, 2009 by Darren Cottingham

VW Amarok concept fq

Volkswagen has just announced that 20 of its its upcoming Amarok utilities will be acting as support vehicles for the 2010 Dakar Rally, with a further 15 acting as press and shuttle vehicles.

The Dakar Rally will be the production Amarok’s first appearance, before launching in South America, Europe and the rest of the world including NZ.

Volkswagen will use the event to put the Amarok through some final endurance testing and while it won’t be competing, it must still be able to handle the same rough terrain.

In terms of competing, Volkswagen will be entering four Race Touareg teams in the event, which travels 9000km through Argentina and Chile.

“The Volkswagen Amarok is Volkswagen’s answer to the pickup and on the Dakar Rally it will have the chance to show what it’s made of and to demonstrate its flexibility and durability”, said Stephan Schaller, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“Moreover, the Volkswagen Amarok is built in Argentina and South America is one of the most important markets for this product, so taking part in the 2010 Dakar Rally was an absolute must for us”, stresses Schaller.

Volkswagen has been clear about its intent to take down Toyota as the world’s number one carmaker. With the German carmaker recently outdoing its Japanese competitor for production numbers (read news), the battle is sure to heat up when the Amarok faces off against the established HiLux.

Volkswagen Race Touareg takes shape for 2009 Dakar Rally

October 28th, 2008 by Darren Cottingham

VW Touareg Race fq

The ‘Dakar’ Rally 2009 promises to be the most demanding test yet for the Volkswagen Motorsport team, as it prepares to take on some of the harshest and most challenging terrain on the planet with four examples of the Race Touareg 2.

The four factory-fielded Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 models will be piloted by Spaniard Carlos Sainz and his French navigator Michel Perlin; Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and Dirk von Zitzewith (Germany); Mark Miller (USA) and Ralph Pitchford (South Africa) and Dieter Depping partnered with fellow German Timo Gottschalk. The racers, powered by a 2.5-litre TDI diesel engine producing 280 PS, are currently under construction at Volkswagen Motorsport in Hanover, Germany. From there, working to a tight deadline of November 15, the support and service trucks plus parts and equipment needed to compete in the world’s toughest motorsport event will be transported to Le Havre, France, for scrutineering which takes place on November 26, before being shipped out to South America.

For the first time in the event’s history, the 2009 race takes place across the South American continent. Starting in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on 3 January 2009 and covering more than 9,000 gruelling kilometres (5,625 miles) over 15 stages, the teams will travel through Argentina and Chile from the Atlantic to the Pacific coasts and back again.

The stages include passage through the Atacama Desert, the driest desert in the world with the highest dune fields, along with two crossings of the Andes encountering altitudes of up to 4,600 metres. In preparation for these extreme conditions, both man and machine have been specially prepared. The drivers have completed altitude training in the Alps, while the 2.5-litre TDI engines have been subjected to thousands of kilometres of extensive durability testing in an environment chamber, designed to simulate extreme altitudes.

The constantly changing landscapes and varying terrain along the route are not only an extremely demanding test for the vehicles, drivers and co-drivers, but they also provide a new set of challenges for the technicians and engineers in terms of vehicle set-up and maintenance.

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