20 days to the 2010 Dakar Rally

From snow to sand: Volkswagen team is ready for the "Dakar"

Wolfsburg (13 December 2009). Now the going gets tough: The Volkswagen drivers concluded their comprehensive preparations for the latest running of the Dakar Rally in South America with a weekend in snow. Next appointment for the defending champions around Giniel de Villiers is now the ceremonial start on 1 January where the five Volkswagen Race Touaregs set off on their 9,000 kilometre long journey through Argentina and Chile. In Flachau (Austria) the drivers, co-drivers and team members as well as numerous celebrities and media representatives met for the final time in Europe. On this occasion the Volkswagen squad appeared not only self-confident and in peak physical form but also in a great mood.

"The last few weeks were extremely busy for the entire team. We've spent a lot of time together and worked hard," says Dr Ulrich Hackenberg, Member of the Board of Management with responsibility for Technical Development. In addition to mechanic training for drivers and co-drivers and a week of preparation covering everything to do with navigation, the final medical check up for the drivers at the Sport Clinic Bad Nauheim was on the agenda. Result: Volkswagen is ready for the "Dakar". Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen: "We've now done everything to prepare both man and machine perfectly for the challenge 'Dakar'. The fantastic event this weekend wasn't just a lot of fun, but it also showed just what a closely-knit team our guys have become."

Football trainer Mirko Slomka, actor Wilson Ochsenknecht, moderator Milka Fernandez or motorsport legend Hans-Joachim Stuck - just a selection of the celebrity personalities who were able to experience the fascination of cross country rallying live and up close in Flachau. The guests got an impression of the prototype's abilities, which became the first diesel powered vehicle to win the Dakar Rally in 2009, with taxi rides through the snow alongside the "Dakar" winner or a spectacular jump show involving Touaregs and motorbikes. Furthermore, more than 60 media representatives from Europe and overseas received final first-hand information on just how the Wolfsburg based automobile manufacturer will approach operation "title defence" from drivers, co-drivers, team members and Motorsport Director.

The schedule over the forthcoming weeks is very tight. In the next few days the five Race Touareg will be flown with cargo aircraft to Buenos Aires. Fifty tonnes of material - including trucks and other service vehicles - have already been at sea since the end of November and will be collected again on 28 December. Technical scrutineering follows on 29 and 30 December before the vehicles roll over the start ramp on New Year's Day.

-credit: vw