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Dakar 2008: Lots of fans and action at the VW-team send-off.

Great leaps forward for the Race Touareg, interviews and autographs: The Volkswagen Motorsport team celebrated with its fans one last time before the Dakar Rally begins in January with an exciting action and entertainment show in Wolfsburg. The Volkswagen "Dakar" team introduced itself to the crowd during a pre-game show before the hometown VfL Wolfsburg team battled Borussia Dortmund at the Volkswagen Arena. Under brilliant skies, the team also presented the competition and service vehicles, raffled off passenger rides in the Volkswagen Race Touareg and gave the spectators many opportunities to see the rally pilots up close and personal.

"This event was a total success," said a pleased Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director. "The Volkswagen Race Touareg and the drivers were absolutely besieged by the fans. But the football fans were not the only ones who used this opportunity to get to know the motorsport team. The fact that many spectators came specifically for this send-off event demonstrates the popularity that motorsport enjoys in Wolfsburg. The partnership with VfL Wolfsburg is also excellent, with a car in the team’s colours starting in the Polo Cup for the past three years. That makes it even more gratifying to have the official Dakar Rally send-off here before the backdrop of the Volkswagen Arena."

Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, member of the Volkswagen brand management board in charge of development, provided insight into the Dakar preparations together with Kris Nissen on the Hit Radio Antenne show stage. "The Dakar Rally is an outstanding platform for Volkswagen to demonstrate its performance and innovation against strong challengers in the field of competitive motorsports," explained Dr Hackenberg. "Our work in preparation for Dakar is complete," added Nissen. "All of the Race Touaregs and service vehicles are ready to go. We hope to be fighting for a victory this year down to the last second."

"The atmosphere was super," said an ecstatic works pilot Mark Miller who made the trip from the USA specifically for the event. "We signed loads of autographs and answered lots of questions," added co-pilot Ralph Pitchford, who also participated in the send-off along with co-pilots Timo Gottschalk and Michel Périn. On top of that, works pilot Dieter Depping thrilled many of the raffle winners and celebrities with taxi rides in a Race Touareg around the adjoining grounds.

2007/12/18 | 17:13 CET | Editor: MR/Uwe Baldes/hs

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