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Immediately after claiming second place at the Tunisian Rally with Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (South Africa/Germany) the Volkswagen factory team completed a six-day test as extra preparation for the 2007 Dakar Rally. With German Rally
Champion Matthias Kahle, and French Touring Car ace Yvan Muller, two additional top-flight drivers from other motorsport disciplines made guest appearances in the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 alongside factory driver Giniel de Villiers.
Volkswagen Motorsport tested new suspension developments specifically for camel grass terrain over 2,500 kilometres with a brace of Race Touareg 2 prototypes in Ksar Ghilane, Tunisia. “The test was very successful, both the driver and technicians are very satisfied”, explains Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “The team worked very hard, and were able to complete the entire programme as a result. The weather was also ideal – with temperatures between 30 and 40 degrees Celsius the components were under extreme stress, and this was our goal.”
Matthias Kahle, current German Rally Champion with Skoda, made his debut at the wheel of a Race Touareg 2. “We invited Matthias Kahle to test following his excellent performance in a private Buggy on the 'Dakar'. While Carlos Sainz and Michel Périn recover at home from their light injuries sustained during the Tunisian Rally, we decided at short notice to let Matthias Kahle complete more kilometres than originally scheduled and lighten the workload for Giniel de Villiers at the test”, says Kris Nissen. “We may well see Matthias again.
It's possible that we will invite him for another test.”
Kahle was impressed : “I was astonished by the Race Touareg”, says the six-time German Rally Champion. “It was the first time that I'd driven a four-wheel drive vehicle in the desert. I felt at home immediately.” The 37-year old rally professional covered around 500 kilometres before heading back to Germany on Monday, where he can be seen in action at the Sachsen Rally, the season opener of the German Rally series.
“Ice King” in the sand: Yvan Muller, SEAT works driver in the World Touring Car Championship and ten-time Champion in the popular French ice racing series “Trophée Andros”, drove a Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 and off-road vehicle for the first time. The 36-year old touring car professional dreams of making his debut in cross country rallying in the future. “We'd promised SEAT Motorsport Boss Jaime Puig to give Yvan the chance to drive in the sand just as soon as the opportunity presented itself”, says Kris Nissen. “Muller thoroughly enjoyed himself. Furthermore, he can now evaluate his desire to participate in the Rally Dakar much better.”
Press Release Volkswagen Motorsport