Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F), Volkswagen Race Touareg 2
By fielding three Race Touareg vehicles, Volkswagen is tackling another new challenge in cross-country rally racing while preparing for the 2009 Dakar Rally: The second rally of the Dakar series, which will lead through Portugal from 09 to 14 September, will be contested by the factory duos of Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D) and Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) with the diesel prototype that has already been victorious twice in 2008.
The rally from Lisbon to Portimão will feature approximately 1,000 timed kilometres on five competition days. In April 2008, the Volkswagen Duo Sainz/Périn had won the first rally of the Dakar series, the Central Europe Rally through Hungary and Romania. The German duo Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk in its first event in the Race Touareg had finished the rally in third place. Seven of the seven possible stage victories went to the Race Touareg powered by a 280-hg TDI diesel engine.
“The first round of the Dakar Series was marked by extremely fierce competition, exemplary organisation and challenging terrain,” says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “We’re pleased to accept the challenge of this second new competition run by the ‘Dakar’ organiser ASO, which again promises to deliver first-class cross-country rally racing. What’s more, before the 2009 ‘Dakar’ in South America this rally offers another opportunity to match our capabilities with our main rivals, Mitsubishi and X-Raid BMW, in toughest competitive conditions. We’re looking forward to this comparison because we’ve won four of our five past rallies and want to add another victory to this tally.”
Preparation for the 2009 Dakar Rally in South America
After winning the Central Europe Rally with Sainz/Périn in April and the exploit clinched by Villiers/Zitzewitz at the Rallye dos Sertões in Brazil, the rally in Portugal marks the third competition in the 2008 season for Volkswagen and another step in preparing for the next Dakar Rally, which will lead through Argentina and Chile in January 2009, offering truly new terrain to the contenders.
“The motto, ‘expect the unexpected’, is a crucial aspect of marathon rally racing,” says Kris Nissen. “Drivers, co-drivers, engineers, logisticians and mechanics must adjust to new conditions on a daily basis. Like the Central Europe Rally and particularly the Rallye dos Sertões, the upcoming rally is an acid test for the entire team. In Portugal, under high pressure from our rivals, we will again have to prove that we’re ready for the next ‘Dakar’.”