The countdown for the Dakar Rally is running
The countdown for the 2007 Dakar Rally is running: ten weeks before the start of the cross-country classic in Lisbon, Volkswagen's factory team has completed the development programme for the Race Touareg 2 with an intensive test
in Tunisia. Coming up next as a warm-up will be a competition run of two Race Touareg 2 cars for Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn and Ari Vatanen/Fabrizia Pons in the UAE Desert Challenge (5 to 10 November).
"The test runs in Tunisia went very well. We were able to complete our entire programme,” said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "The test took place in two different regions: in the high sand dunes near El Borma close to the Algerian border and on the camel grass stretches near Ksar Ghilane in the north of Tunisia. In the UAE Desert Challenge one Race Touareg 2 representing the latest technical evolution for the Dakar Rally will be entered while the second factory car will compete with the 2006 World Cup specification and a few new components. As the next item on our agenda in the weeks ahead, we're going to concentrate on the logistical preparation for the Dakar Rally and the preparation of the competition vehicles. This means we're right on schedule."
All four Volkswagen factory pairings actively participated in the seven-day test runs in Tunisia: Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/RSA), Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F), Ari Vatanen/Fabrizia Pons (FIN/I) and Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D) shared the work of checking – among other things – new suspension components fitted to a Race Touareg 2.
"Unfortunately, the weather wasn't all that favourable because due to rain before the test the sand dunes were relatively hard. Soft sand would have been better suited for our purposes," Kris Nissen explained. "A second Race Touareg was running as a practice vehicle morning, noon and night. This gave our drivers and co-drivers the opportunity to specifically practice driving on sand, to simulate various situations in a cross-country rally and to enhance the navigation skills in unknown terrain together with the co-driver."
While the factory drivers were testing in Tunisia the race team in Germany was busy performing the final preparations for the UAE UAE Desert Challenge starting on 5 November. In the past few days the Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 cars for Carlos Sainz and Ari Vatanen were flown to the United Arab Emirates. Driver and team will follow starting on 1 November. In addition to the Volkswagen works team, the Portugese Team Lagos with Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz (Portugal/Germany) entered by Phoenix Sport will compete in the FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup season's finale event in another Race Touareg 2.
Press Release Volkswagen Motorsport