16 days until the 2010 Dakar Rally

Above the clouds: five Race Touaregs on the way to the "Dakar"

Wolfsburg (17 December 2009). Five Race Touaregs, one destination: Buenos Aires. Volkswagen has flown the rally cars for the Dakar Rally to South America. The five powerful 300 hp cross country rally prototypes for Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) and Mauricio Neves/Clecio Maestrelli (BR/BR) are winging their way by airfreight to the Argentine capital and starting point of the "Dakar". Between 2 and 16 January the Wolfsburg based automobile manufacturer confronts the toughest test which motorsport has to offer. From Buenos Aires the route of the famous "Dakar" desert rally runs twice over the Andes, through the legendary Pampa and across the unforgiving Atacama Desert. The remaining material -- the service vehicles including tools, equipment and spare parts -- had already started to the "Dakar" by sea freight on 1 December.

"As of today we are finally ready for the 'Dakar'. After having sent all the service team's material on its way by ship, the most important cargo with five Race Touaregs was dispatched today to South America," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "We are all eagerly awaiting January so that we can finally tackle our big target - the title defence."

Two 14-hour flights with valuable cargo

The five Race Touaregs took their places in a pair of cargo machines for the approximate 14-hour flight from Amsterdam Schiphol to Buenos Aires. The preliminary work was however completed in Hanover: The powerful 300 hp "Dakar" prototypes were already packed and secured on special pallets on 11 December, before being transported by truck to Amsterdam. The McDonnell-Douglas MD11 airfreight machines with three and two Race Touaregs on board then started for South America on 15 and 17 December.

"Transporting the Race Touareg by air has many advantages," says Lutz Meyer, responsible for the "Dakar" logistics at Volkswagen Motorsport. "You really save a lot of time. While the material for the service crew is already at sea bound for Buenos Aires since the beginning of December, two more weeks remain to fully complete the Race Touaregs for the 'Dakar', which the team used for meticulous preparation down to the smallest detail."

-credit: vw