Central Europe: Volkswagen pre-event notes

Before the start in Budapest: Volkswagen has a full agenda Wolfsburg (19 April 2008). Roll-out, visit to the parliament, press conference, scrutineering, "meet the team" hosted by partner Red Bull -- the Volkswagen "Dakar" teams of Carlos ...

Before the start in Budapest: Volkswagen has a full agenda

Wolfsburg (19 April 2008). Roll-out, visit to the parliament, press conference, scrutineering, "meet the team" hosted by partner Red Bull -- the Volkswagen "Dakar" teams of Carlos Sainz/Michel Perin (E/F), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/RSA) and Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk had a full agenda even prior to the start of the Central Europe Rally (20-26 April) in Hungary's capital Budapest. "You can feel that we're venturing onto new territory. The enthusiasm is huge," says the defending FIA Cross-Country Rally World Cup title winner Carlos Sainz. On Sunday, things will really get serious, when this new rally (20 to 26 April) organised by the A.S.O, the organisers of the "Dakar", starts its first leg from Budapest to the stage finish of Baia Mare (RO).

Warm welcome for Volkswagen drivers at Hungarian parliament

The contenders of the Central Europe Rally were officially received by the Hungarian government. On Friday evening State Secretary Istvan Ujhelyi also welcomed the Volkswagen drivers at the historic building of the Hungarian parliament - an exclusive tour of the impressive state residence included. "This was a very special evening for us," says Mark Miller, who finished the 2007 Dakar Rally in fourth place overall with Volkswagen. "And it was really quite an experience - like being invited to the White House. And another nice thing about it is that it showed the high level of enthusiasm for our sport that exists in this region."

Final check before the start: successful roll-out on Friday

A smooth roll-out of all factory-prepared and factory-fielded Race Touareg 2 vehicles concluded the meticulous preparations of the Volkswagen team for the Central Europe Rally. Last week´s test in Veszprem and the roll-out prior to the start of the rally again gave us drivers a feel for the car," says Giniel de Villiers. "It was important and helpful to run the last functional tests with the setup we worked out last week. Now we´re hot: everyone in the team is looking forward to the start."

Demanding track profile requires utmost concentration

Like Carlos Sousa/Andy Schulz (P/D) in the Race Touareg of the Lagos customer team, the teams manning the four factory-fielded Touareg vehicles expect to find an extremely demanding track profile with unique characteristics. "During our test last week we gathered some first impressions," says Giniel de Villiers. "The route is truly a challenge. Whether you´re the driver or co-driver - you´ve got to constantly be on guard." And his co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz adds: "The navigation is tricky as well. It´s the same as with the´ Dakar´: we´ve got to maintain our full concentration every second."

-credit: volkswagen-motorsport.com

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Dieter Depping , Carlos Sousa , Giniel de Villiers , Michel Périn , Timo Gottschalk , Andy Schulz