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Dakar 2009: Dieter Depping craves first "Dakar" in Race Touareg.

When the four Volkswagens roll across the Dakar Rally start ramp the level of anticipation for one driver in particular is enormous - Dieter Depping. It is a double premiere for him: The first running of the legendary Dakar in South America is simultaneously the first that the all-rounder from Hanover tackles in the Race Touareg 2.

However, Depping is anything but a "rookie". The 42-year old has been an integral element of the Volkswagen family since 1998 and made a name for himself in cross country rallying just as quickly as he had in sprint rallying and on the race track. "Dieter Depping is a multitalented driver and bonus for our team," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "He can drive anything with four wheels on the limit and in the process always delivers reliable information to the engineers."

Dieter Depping took cross country rallying by storm in April 2008: In the Central Europe Rally through Hungary and Romania he finished in a strong third place with co-driver Timo Gottschalk and in doing so claimed a podium spot first time out against the assembled Dakar competition of his three Volkswagen team mates Carlos Sainz (E), Giniel de Villiers (ZA) and Mark Miller (USA) as well as Mitsubishi, X-raid-BMW and Robby Gordon. He showed strong nerves and also won a stage in the duel for third place which he won against former Dakar winner Luc Alphand (Mitsubishi).

"It was a fantastic result which I would like to carry over to the ‘Dakar´" says Depping, who drove the test Tarek in the Dakar Rally for Volkswagen in 2003 and also the MAN Race-Truck in 2007. "I´m craving to start the rally I can hardly wait. Every aspect in the premiere in South America is new, experience counts for nothing, which suits both Timo and I. We prepared ourselves perfectly, now it´s just a question of proving what we are capable of. We want to achieve the best possible result for Volkswagen."

Dieter Depping has already made a name for himself in classic rallying: He was German Rally Champion four times in succession, other national titles in German rally series´ come on top of this. The family father living in Wedemark close to Hanover is not only seen in action in rallies for Volkswagen but also on the race track. As test driver Depping has set-up numerous racing cars and posted an endless amount of laps around the Motorsport Arena Oschersleben in the process. A brace of one-two finishes in class at the 24-hour race around the Nürburgring-Nordschleife confirm just how good he is: In 2007 Depping won in a Golf GTI, in 2008 - together with Sainz, Stuck and Co. - he was second on the debut of the new Scirocco.

2008/12/30 | 23:21 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Uwe Baldes

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