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VW win Dakar Rally in a Diesel Touarag

Mon, 19 Jan 2009

The Dakar rally is a cruel and hostile event, over 5000km of the toughest territory for any car rally. Never before won by a diesel engined vehicle, VW has achieved a first by not only winning the gruelling event in a diesel Touarag, but coming in second as well. This ends a seven year domination of the Dakar Rally by Mitsubishi.

VW Diesel Touarag 1-2 win in the Dakar Rally

Driven by South African Giniel de Villiers, with German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, the Touarag crossed the finish line in Buenos Aires nine minutes ahead of team mate Mark Miller, and 1h 46m ahead of American Robby Gordon in his Hummer.

This is the first Dakar Rally held outside Africa. Traditionally the rally has been from Paris to Dakar, but due to political instability in Africa the organisers moved the event to South America, where it ran on hugely difficult terrain across Argentina and Chile. Unlike a normal car rally, the Dakar is contested by extreme off-road vehicles due to the extremely challenging terrain driven.

De Villiers was understandably more than a little chuffed with the win. He said:

‘I am so happy to have clinched it for Volkswagen. This victory is worth more to me than any of the titles I won in touring car racing. The key to our success was the Race Touareg, which ran like a charm throughout, and I want to thank everyone at Volkswagen for that. I won the first Dakar Rally not staged in Africa, and it was the toughest event I have ever contested: definitely a genuine Dakar Rally.’

So well done, VW. Just shows what a diesel 4×4, in the right hands, can do!

By Cars UK