16 days till the 2009 Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile

Good omen: Race Touareg victorious in South America in 2005

Wolfsburg (18 December 2008). 12 March 2005: A date in Volkswagen's motorsport history marking the first win in cross country rallying and is a good omen for the forthcoming 2009 Dakar Rally. At that time the duo Bruno Saby/Michel Perin (F/F) sealed the premiere victory for the Race Touareg at the Rally Por las Pampas. The terrain then and now: Argentina and Chile. In the forthcoming "Dakar" on 3 January in Buenos Aires, in which four factory entered Race Touareg tackle the first Dakar Rally in South America, the Volkswagen team aims to continue its winning streak on the world's fourth largest continent. In addition to winning the Rally Por las Pampas in 2005 overall victory in the Rally dos Sertões through Brazil in June 2008 is also credited to the Volkswagen account.

"The team has positive memories of our rallies with the Race Touareg in South America," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "We also draw plenty of motivation from these events for the forthcoming Dakar Rally. The target is however to be the first manufacturer to win the 'Dakar' with diesel power. Furthermore, Volkswagen has the opportunity to win the debut of this desert classic in South America."

Rally Por las Pampas 2005: Premiere win as opener on way to World Cup title

In 2005 the Rally Por las Pampas provided a varied and more specifically hard terrain. "We were surprised just how demanding the rally was from the beginning," remembers Michel Perin who celebrated his 21st overall victory as co-driver at that time and who has since added another four in the service of Volkswagen. "We didn't have everything our own way. The terrain was a section through probably every conceivable type of ground and challenge in cross country rallying, so, exactly that what we can also expect during the 'Dakar' in January. "

In 2005 the route consisted of eight daily stages from Bariloche in Argentina including crossing the Andes to San Pedro de Atacama in Chile and therefore through similar terrain to that which the Volkswagen team will also find in January. On the agenda in 2009 are once again sections through the legendary Pampa, the heights of the Andes and the Atacama Desert the world's driest desert.

The first overall victory in a cross country rally formed the opening to a successful year for Volkswagen: In 2005 Saby/Perin won twice more on the way to winning the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup. The excellent Rally Por las Pampas result was completed by Volkswagen duo Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons (D/I) in third place behind Stephane Peterhansel in a Mitsubishi.

-credit: vw