|Dakar 2010: Emotional Start for last year´s winner Volkswagen.|
Volkswagen started to the Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile in front of an inspiring audience. More than 300,000 fans celebrated the title defenders Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) and their Volkswagen team-mates Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) and Maurício Neves/Clécio Maestrelli (BR/BR) in the Argentine capital Buenos Aires. After the requisite drive across the starting ramp, the route took the five Race Touareg vehicles powered by TDI diesel engines to Colón where the first special stage in open terrain will start on Saturday.
The enthusiastic spectators gathered around the famous obelisk included Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Volkswagen management board member for Technical Development, and Hans-Joachim Stuck, the Volkswagen Group´s motorsport representative. After this liaison leg to the first bivouac on the outskirts of Buenos Aires on New Year´s Day the competition of the Dakar Rally will start the following day with the first, 251-kilometre special stage from Colón to Córdoba. On Saturday a total of 684 kilometres, including liaison stages, are on the agenda.
"The ceremonial start marks a successful, emotional and appropriate beginning for the Dakar Rally," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "The enthusiasm of the spectators for our sport is fantastic and provides everyone in the Volkswagen team with that final bit of motivation to show top performances. There´s no better way to start to the new year than completing the first few ‘Dakar´ kilometres in the presence of such a cheering crowd before things really get serious the next day."
2010/01/02 | 14:15 CET | Editor: MR/HS/VW/S.Moser