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Classical route, more sand
Volkswagen welcomes Dakar planning
A classical route but with a bigger share of demanding legs across sand, a competition time frame postponed by one week and an extensive safety package – this is how the organiser has presented the 2007 Dakar Rally. “We welcome the key
features of the next Dakar Rally,“ said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen at the presentation in Portugal. The Volkswagen works team plans to participate in the “Dakar” with four Race Touareg 2 rally vehicles. In the 2006 Dakar Rally in January, the South African Giniel de Villiers and his Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner in the Race Touareg finished as the runner-up overall, thus claiming the best “Dakar“ result of a diesel-powered vehicle.
On 6 January 2007, the 29th edition of the desert classic will start in the Portuguese capital of Lisbon, marking the second start in a row from this venue. The finish on January 21st will again be in Dakar, the capital of Senegal. "The decision to again choose Lisbon as the starting place is a good one. It guarantees the appropriate atmosphere for the start,” adds Kris Nissen. On 15 competition days the "Dakar” will be run from Portugal via Morocco, Mauritania and Mali to Senegal. Nissen: "This provides the basis for a classical, time-tested route."

Giniel de Villiers, who alongside former World Rally Champion Carlos Sainz (Spain) has been confirmed as a Volkswagen factory driver, is very enthusiastic about the initial plans for the route: "The distance through Mauritania will be extended. This means we will be in for more sand, more dunes. Mauritania is the classic route per se – the legs are extremely demanding and treacherous. This big sandbox has often determined victory or defeat in the rally in recent years.
A great challenge"

Kris Nissen sees the Volkswagen factory team's preparations for 2007 Dakar Rally confirmed: "We focus on our continued development and test drives on sand. Our analysis of the ‘Dakar' spanning the past few years has shown that compared with competitors we did lose a bit of time on soft sand. That's why we concentrate on this terrain without neglecting other aspects. With the Tunisian Rally and during tests in Tunisia we've achieved notable progress already."

For the 2007 Dakar Rally, the French organiser, A.S.O, which makes the arrangements for the Tour de France every year as well, is planning an extensive safety campaign for the general public and the participants. Key aspects are additional speed limits for all service vehicles as well as improved public information and involvement of local police. "We fully endorse these measures," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.
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