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Dakar 2010: One and a half "Dakar": VW runs tests in Morocco.

Successful test run for the Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile: Volkswagen prepared for the desert classic from 02 to 17 January 2010 in South America with two-week tests in Morocco. Until 21 August the four Dakar duos of the Wolfsburg-based automobile manufacturer tested around the cities of M’hamid and Erfoud. The driver/co-driver pairings Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) were the duos used in the endurance tests which included two daily long runs. During the tests the Dakar winning team from January 2009 smoothly completed over 7,000 kilometres on simulated special stages.

"Morocco is an ideal location to prepare for the Dakar Rally," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "Here, the gruelling conditions of the kind we´ll find in the Atacama desert in the north of Chile can be perfectly simulated. The Sahara desert not only offers plenty of soft sand but also extremely hot temperatures. In addition, it is possible in Morocco to get attuned to the gravel stages of the Dakar. The Race Touareg ran perfectly again. With 7,000 kilometres of simulated special stages we even surpassed our expectations."

Two Volkswagen Race Touareg vehicles were used in the tests. One of the two 280-hp cross-country rally prototypes powered by TDI diesel engines was available to the drivers for the endurance tests, while the second one was used strictly for short set-up runs. The Race Touareg used for the long runs completed the 7,000 kilometres - equalling one and a half times the distance of the special stages during the Dakar Rally - without the slightest problems.

The countdown to the "Dakar, which starts on 02 January in Buenos Aires and finishes at the same location 15 days later, is already running: Volkswagen will prepare for the title defence project in the off-road classic by participating in another competition. From 05 to 13 September the factory team from Wolfsburg will contest the Silk Way Rally through the Russian Republic of Tatarstan as well as through Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan, which is organised by "Dakar organiser A.S.O. and - thanks to its 4,500-kilometre distance through vast steppes and deserts - is considered a small "Dakar as well.

2009/08/24 | 14:32 CET | Editor: MR/HS/Stefan Moser

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