|SA-Dakar: Al Attiyah - "I'm delighted to have been the first Arab to win".|
Tumultuous celebration at the Dakar finish: Volkswagen has won the 3rd edition of the South America Dakar Rally. Standing alongside Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk on the podium in Buenos Aires on Sunday will be Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz and Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz.
In front of millions of enthusiastic spectators the new Race Touareg 3 scored a much celebrated one-two-three finish in the desert classic through Argentina and Chile. As a result, Volkswagen is the only manufacturer to have won the automobile category in the desert classic with diesel technology - and remains unbeaten on the South American continent thanks to TDI power. To complete the victory all three cars must still roll across the winner’s ramp on Sunday and midday local time in Buenos Aires.
Nasser Al-Attiyah becomes the first Arab in the desert classic's history to be presented with the big Dakar trophy. The Qatari won in his sixth Dakar competition, his second for Volkswagen, for the first time. His navigator Timo Gottschalk is only the fourth co-driver, after Gerd Löffelmann, Andreas Schulz and Dirk von Zitzewitz, to bring the Dakar victory to Germany - a premiere for the vehicle technology engineer.
"My first Dakar win. I'm absolutely delighted to have been the first Arab to win the world's toughest desert rally" said a happy Al Attiyah. "These feelings are incredibly difficult to express in words. I reached my greatest goal thanks to the world's best cross country rally car and the best team in this sport. I'm delighted for the entire squad which slaved around the clock for three weeks for this victory. In Timo Gottschalk I have an exceptional co-driver at my side, who played an immense role in this victory. Today we'll party like there's no tomorrow."
"Victory in the Dakar - I can still hardly believe it" added Timo Gottschalk. Over last few days we built up a comfortable advantage and things looked really good for us in the previous stages. Nevertheless, everybody ignored any thoughts of victory, because anything can happen in this rally even within sight of the finish. I'm proud and happy about the win. It was the hardest Dakar which I have ever contested. We've now spent two weeks at the absolute physical limit. The organiser kept its promise of wanting to stage the toughest Dakar Rally ever. To have won exactly this one is an incredibly good feeling."
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, is more the happy: "The third successive Dakar victory for Volkswagen is a historic performance which was achieved thanks to perfect teamwork, exceptional driving and navigational skills and more specifically thanks to superior technology. I'm incredibly proud of the entire team, both the employees who made this win possible and also the team with its superhuman efforts here on location. It was without a shadow of doubt the toughest Dakar that we have ever contested, and also probably the best organised."
"I think we proved that the Race Touareg 3 is currently the world's most reliable and strongest cross country rally vehicle. This is the result of years of hard work. Congratulations to Nasser Al-Attiyah and Timo Gottschalk who have worked outstandingly and obviously also to the other Volkswagen pairs who made this one-two-three finish possible."
2011/01/16 | 17:00 CET | ARTICLE: MR/DAKARTEAM/MOSER