32 days until the 2009 Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile
"Dakar" ahoy: Volkswagen boards ship for Argentina
Wolfsburg (02 December 2008). Early start to the 2009 Dakar Rally: on Tuesday (02 December) over 700 rally vehicles -- including 22 service vehicles of the Volkswagen factory team with their loads ready to go -- embarked on their voyage from Le Havre (France) to Buenos Aires (Argentina). The complex transport of the huge array of rally material across the Atlantic is necessary because the world's longest and toughest motorsport competition will be run through Argentina and Chile for the first time from 03 to 18 January 2009.
"The shipping of the service vehicles to Argentina means that the first starting signal for the Dakar Rally has been given," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "Our team has perfectly prepared our vehicles and all our equipment for the toughest weeks of the year, which are awaiting us in early January with this challenging rally on new territory. But not just the terrain is new. The early scheduling of the Scrutineering and the fact that the vehicles travel by sea have notably shortened the time for preparation. But the squad has perfectly compensated for this and carefully prepared itself as usual."
Together with numerous European participants the Volkswagen team completed the early Scrutineering in Le Havre on 26 and 27 November. Afterwards, the vehicles - in addition to several MAN trucks, Volkswagen uses the Touareg V6 TDI off-road models and vans with four-wheel drive - were loaded onto the cargo ship "Grande Benelux" which departed the port on Tuesday morning and is expected to arrive in Buenos Aires on 16 December. The four Volkswagen Race Touareg vehicles of Carlos Sainz/Michel Perin (E/F), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) and Dieter Depping/Timo Gottschalk (D/D) will be taken to South America by air about two weeks from now.
Seaworthy packaging: extensive team logistics distributed to eleven trucks
The departure of the four MAN service trucks, the four equipment trucks and the three race trucks last week marked the completion of the Volkswagen team's complex logistical preparation for the two-week desert classic. Some 60 tons of spare parts, tools and equipment for the 80 team members were made seaworthy - from cordless drills and one-man tents to wrenches and tooth brushes. "The premiere in South America also poses a big challenge to the logisticians. Everything needed during the rally had to be planned down to the smallest detail and perfectly stowed for this long haul," says Team Manager Peter Utoft. On 28 December the team will receive the vehicles and equipment in Buenos Aires.