Volkswagen Experience: Across the Sahara With The Touareg

Wolfsburg / Marrakech. Sand, dust, hot desert sun and cross country vehicles that wind their way in convoy through almost impenetrable terrain. These are the impressions of the Volkswagen Experience, Volkswagen’s special driver training programme in the desert of Morocco.

Under the motto “Welcome to the 1001st night”, the lively metropolis of Marrakech greets the twelve candidates to the Orient for the 1200 kilometre long expedition through the foothills of the Sahara. With this tour, Volkswagen is offering customers and interested parties an adventurous journey for the first time that combines classic driver training with an adventurous holiday. Throughout the one-week journey, the candidates will learn not only about cultural and culinary delights, but also about the capabilities of their vehicle in tough offroad situations.

After a short introduction in GPS navigation, the candidates take navigational responsibility in turn and guide the group to the next destination with the backup of experienced offroad instructors. They receive assistance, when doing this, from the offroad navigation feature from Volkswagen’s navigation system. Instead of entering an address in the conventional way, GPS co-ordinates are saved. Then the arrow in the display is simply followed to the desired destination. One of the challenges set to male and female drivers alike is the need to avoid natural obstacles along the path, which is often no easy feat.

Equipped with just a few light technical modifications – such as underride protection and special cross-country tyres – the Touareg R5 TDI proves its expedition capability in full. The combination of its particularly frugal 2.5 litre TDI power plant and its 100 litre fuel tank, demonstrate that the vehicle is a good desert companion with lots of staying power. Even a number of successive daily stages can be mastered in this way without the need for additional fuel stops.

A highlight for most of the candidates is the first overnight stop in the open. The high sand dunes in the still desert set the scene for a night in a sleeping bag under the unique backdrop of the Sahara’s clear starlit sky.

Another part of the Volkswagen Experience is a challenging course to develop sand driving skills with spectacular journeys in the dunes of the Erg M’Hazil. When driving in deep sand and over dune peaks, the pneumatic suspension of the Touareg really gets to demonstrate its strengths. Variable ground clearance between 160 mm at Load Level and 300 mm at X’tra Level give the Touareg genuine climbing superiority, not only in the desert.

Along sections of the Dakar Rally, the group members have the chance to drive at high speed in the tracks of real rally drivers. And the next Dakar Rally (1.1. – 18.1.2004) will also give Jutta Kleinschmidt and Bruno Saby the chance to drive the newly developed Race Touareg in the desert region of south east Morocco.

In 2004 there will be further opportunities for offroad fans to experience the Volkswagen Touareg on adventurous journeys around the globe. In addition to Morocco, candidates can also turn the challenging offroad tracks of Moab, the offroad Mecca in Utah America, into a unique driving experience. Further example destinations are South Africa, Iceland and China. Interested parties can obtain additional information by dialling the hotline 0800-VWEVENT (0800-8938368) free of charge in Germany and +49-5361-21827 for other countries.

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