New Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 passes endurance test with flying colours
An evolution model that is as tough as nails: the Volkswagen Race Touareg 3 has completed three weeks of testing in Spain and Morocco with extreme success.
The successor of the diesel prototype from the model range 2 that had been successful twice in the legendary Dakar Rally handled the more than double "Dakar" distance without any technical problems and thus proved to be well prepared to tackle the remainder of the programme before the Dakar Rally's start on 01 January 2011 in Buenos Aires and the world's toughest desert rally itself. On 20 August the "RT3" will be presented to the public for the first time in "Dakar" trim in Trier (Germany). From 11 to 18 September it will make its competitive debut at the Silk Way Rally through Russia that starts in St. Petersburg and finishes in Sochi.
"The Race Touareg 3 tests were more than positive," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen, who was on location to get a personal impression of the first kilometres of the updated vehicle. "A direct comparison between the 'RT2' and the 'RT3' showed that the new car has made a step forwards in many areas. Its reliability was immediately impressive. Our plan had been to complete long runs of one and a half of the 'Dakar' distance - but in the end we covered more than twice the number of test kilometres thanks to the vehicle's stability and the very good job done by the drivers and the team."
Seasoned teams: the four "Dakar" driver pairings
All four "Dakar" duos participated in the tests as driver/co-driver combinations: Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), who decided the past 2010 Dakar Rally in their favour with Volkswagen, Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D), the "Dakar" runners-up in January 2010, Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), the "Dakar" winners in the Race Touareg 2 in January 2009, and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), who completed a one-twin for Volkswagen as the overall runners-up in 2009.
Set-up in Spain, performance comparison and endurance test in Morocco
At the beginning of the extensive tests set-up runs in Spain were on the agenda. Then the Volkswagen "Dakar" team tested the new Race Touareg 3 in direct comparison with its predecessor in the region around Mahmid, Morocco, before moving on to the Erfoud test centre for two weeks of long runs. The new, attractive aerodynamics of the Race Touareg 3, which improves air flow with more efficient flow directed towards the inter-cooling and water cooling systems, proved its viability. The new flow of cooling air was thoroughly tested around Mahmid where temperatures reach 48 o.C in the shade, which equates to the heat that prevails at the "Dakar".
The long runs around Erfoud were focused on testing in conditions resembling the "Dakar" as closely as possible. A 370-kilometre loop that was covered twice per day included dunes with vegetation and a large share of off-road tracks with river bed crossings. Sections with hard soil were on the agenda as well as soft sand passages. In total, the Race Touareg 3 completed almost 10,000 kilometres of simulated special stages. This equates to the distance of an entire Formula 1 season and more than twice the special-stage distance at the legendary Dakar Rally.