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WOLFSBURG, Germany – Volkswagen to continue its involvement in cross country rallying and will compete in the Dakar Rally in 2007.
The Volkswagen factory team led by Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen will contest the 29th running of the desert classic with a further developed “Race Touareg 2”. At this year’s “Dakar” the South African Giniel de Villiers and his Swedish co-driver Tina Thörner finished claimed an outstanding second position.
“With the ‘Dakar’ project Volkswagen has established itself in professional motorsport within a remarkably short space of time. We want to pursue this positive development still further and have therefore decided to announce our participation in the 2007 Dakar Rally early”, explains Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard, Chairman of the Board for Volkswagen. “The Dakar Rally is an excellent platform in which to present the reliability, technical innovation and dynamic of Volkswagen in the toughest of competitions to a large section of the general public.”
With immediate effect Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen, who has been responsible for the Volkswagen brand’s motorsport activities since June 2003, reports directly to Dr. Wolfgang Bernhard. Kris Nissen will coordinate the day-to-day business with Hans-Joachim Rothenpieler, the Director of Product Line E1.
“During the recent Dakar Rally we showed that the Race Touareg 2 has enormous potential. We will now push the development forward in logical steps”, say Kris Nissen. “We made significant progress before the ‘Dakar’ in January. In the following eleven months fine tuning will be our main priority, which is not only related to engineering but also in the areas of logistics, preparation and team organisation.”
In addition to the comprehensive test schedule, Volkswagen will contest selected rounds of the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup and the FIA Cross Country Rally Baja Cup during the 2006 season. “Drivers and co-drivers will be announced during the forthcoming weeks and months”, says Kris Nissen.
By finishing second overall in this year’s Dakar Rally, which finished after 9043 kilometres on 15 January in the Senegalese capital city, with the Race Touareg 2 crewed by driver/co-driver team Giniel de Villiers/Tina Thörner (South Africa/Sweden), Volkswagen recorded the best ever result for a diesel vehicle in this cross country rally and a German automobile manufacturer since Porsche won in 1986. Volkswagen scored five stage victories – four were credited to Carlos Sainz/Andy Schulz (Spain/Germany) and one by de Villiers/Thörner – and held the 2006 Dakar Rally overall lead for five days.
In addition to the cross country rallying programme and its involvement in the Dakar Rally the Wolfsburg based automobile manufacturer also organises the ten-round ADAC Volkswagen Polo Cup which runs as part of the DTM (Deutsche Tourenwagen Masters) support programme.
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