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Optic Tunisia: Volkswagen to contest with de Villiers and Sainz.

Volkswagen is going to contest the Rally of Tunisia with two Race Touareg vehicles entered for works drivers Giniel de Villiers (South Africa) and Carlos Sainz (Spain). The round of the FIA Marathon Rally World Cup from 09 to 17 April will be the second event to be contested by Volkswagen Motorsport this year following the Dakar Rally in January. In the desert classic Volkswagen had finished second overall with Giniel de Villiers and his co-driver Tina Thörner (Sweden). In the FIA Marathon Rally World Cup Volkswagen will be in the role of the title defender.

"The Rally of Tunisia fits very well into our programme of preparing for the 2007 Dakar Rally because it has long stretches leading across sand. Particularly on this classic desert terrain with dunes and camel grass we want to improve some more," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. Giniel de Villiers and Carlos Sainz continue as Volkswagen works drivers in 2006

The signing of Giniel de Villiers and Carlos Sainz means that two Volkswagen works drivers have been confirmed already for the new season. "Giniel and Carlos have impressively shown their abilities during the Dakar Rally. We are pleased about the opportunity of continuing to work with them,! explains Kris Nissen.

Giniel de Villiers, the runner-up overall and stage winner in January’s "Dakar", has been with the Volkswagen team since spring of 2005. "The second place in the Dakar Rally inspired me to want to go for more. That’s why I’m happy to be able to continue taking part in this ambitious Volkswagen project," says the 33-year-old driver from Stellenbosch, South Africa. In the Rally of Tunisia Dirk von Zitzewitz (37) will be taking the co-driver’s seat alongside de Villiers for the first time. The German has been a co-driver with Volkswagen since the 2005 "Dakar".

Carlos Sainz will be contesting his first full season in marathon rally racing in 2006. The 43-year-old native of Madrid, two-time World Champion and record winner (26 victories) in classical rallying, drove his first marathon rally in the Race Touareg last October and caused a sensation with four stage victories in his first ‘Dakar’ back in January. "After my ‘Dakar’ debut I know what this unique rally is truly about and what it takes to win it. The Race Touareg 2 has the potential for winning anyhow. We’re going to work hard to continue developing our potential and making optimum use of it," states Carlos Sainz, who will be running with co-driver Michel Périn (49) at his side for the first time in Tunisia. The Frenchman has been with the Volkswagen team since 2004 and won last year’s World Cup together with his compatriot Bruno Saby.

2006/03/21 I 20:48 CET I Editor:

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