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Wolfsburg (24 May 2009). The Volkswagen Scirocco cars powered by natural gas and petrol engines superbly mastered the world’s most difficult circuit marathon, the 24-hour race on the Nürburgring, by clinching two class victories.
The Scirocco GT24-CNG with innovative EcoFuel technology of Vanina Ickx (B), Peter Terting (D), Klaus Niedzwiedz (D) and Thomas Klenke (D) won the category for vehicles with alternative powertrains (AT) and finished 17th overall, outperforming numerous more powerful cars. The petrol-powered Scirocco GT24 of youngsters Jimmy Johansson (S), Florian Gruber (D), Nicki Thiim (DK) and Martin Karlhofer (A) achieved a remarkable 15th place and Volkswagen’s third consecutive victory in the class of cars with two-litre turbo engines (SP3T).
Altfrid Heger (D), Cheng Congfu (CN), Carlo van Dam (NL) and Franck Mailleux (F) finished third in the SP3T class and 20th overall, the CNG-powered Scirocco of Volkswagen Executive Board Member for Technology Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (D), Bernd Ostmann (D), Peter Wyss (CH) and John Barker (GB) finished as the runners-up in the AT class. The fifth Scirocco of Carlos Sainz (E), Dieter Depping (D), Wolfgang Kaufmann (D) and Patrick Simon (D) retired after a strong showing due to an accident that was no fault of theirs on Sunday morning.
Volkswagen with Scirocco R debut, “Dakar” winners and actors
235,000 spectators lining the legendary Nordschleife in perfect weather not only witnessed an extremely thrilling 24-hour race but also the world debut of the new Scirocco R, the most powerful version of the sport coupe with a 265-hp engine. The Scirocco R presented itself to enthusiasts in a motorcade around the roller-coaster in the Eifel along with the Race Touareg with “Dakar” winners Giniel de Villiers (ZA) and Dirk von Zitzewitz (D). The many guests rooting for the Volkswagen team at the “Ring” included actors Erol Sander and Mark Keller.
Needless to say, VfL Wolfsburg’s winning of the German Football Championship was a major topic at the Nürburgring as well: Before the start to the 24-hour race Dr. Ulrich Hackenberg, Carlos Sainz and Kris Nissen wished the VFL team well in a live transmission to the stadium and a short time later sent their congratulations on Wolfsburg’s triumph by pit board messages and from the cockpit.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director
“We’re extremely happy: We achieved the hat-trick in the two-litre turbo class and also proved that the Scirocco GT24-CNG powered by natural gas is a viable alternative. I’d like to express sincere praise to our drivers who mastered a difficult task consistently well. Due to the changes to the regulations the field has become clearly more competitive. What used to be lapping in the past has turned into an infinite number of overtaking manoeuvres. At the end of the day, the strong performance of the entire squad made the difference, which enabled us to achieve the double class victory through careful preparation and perfect work during the race.”
#114 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24-CNG – 2nd place AT class – 101st overall
Dr Ulrich Hackenberg (D): “Our courageous decision to compete in one of the world’s toughest competitions with our EcoFuel natural gas technology proved to be right. Volkswagen showed that there is no justification for the fact that the image of natural gas as a fuel tends to be underrated and that natural gas vehicles can deliver as much sporty performance as vehicles powered by conventional fuels. Our victorious drivers’ squad has fully used the potential of this low-emission technology and surpassed all expectations.”
#115 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24-CNG – 1st place AT class – 17th overall
Vanina Ickx (B): “I’m really proud to have been part of the Scirocco GT24-CNG’s debut. For me as a biologist, natural gas technology combines two big passions – the conscientious use of natural resources and motorsport – in an all-new way.”
#116 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 – 3rd place SP3T class – 20th overall
Congfu Cheng (CN): “I’m happy to have seen the chequered flag again at my second 24-hour race. Successfully finishing this race is a lot more difficult than it seems on the outside. For me, it was the first big touring car race and I’m very grateful to my team colleagues for their great support. Altfrid Heger in particular, with his wealth of experience, was a fantastic mentor for us rookies.”
#117 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 – retirement
Carlos Sainz (E): “The race was going really well for us – up to the unfortunate accident in which Wolfgang Kaufmann was not at fault in any way. It’s too bad that this meant the end of our race because I enjoyed it even more than last year. I’m getting more and more familiar with the Nordschleife and the atmosphere keeps fascinating me. The team made a strong showing and I’d be happy to compete in this event again next year.”
#118 – Volkswagen Scirocco GT24 – 1st place, SP3T class – 15th overall
Nicki Thiim (DK): “It was my third attempt at finishing the 24-hour race successfully and in my first run for Volkswagen this even resulted in class victory. The Scirocco GT24 is very quick but also handles easily on the difficult Nordschleife. The comfort I felt at the wheel of the Scirocco was matched by the way I felt as a member of the Volkswagen team.”
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