32 days until the 2010 Dakar Rally
Grande Brasile takes "Dakar" winner Volkswagen to South America
Wolfsburg (01 December 2009). 60 tons of material, 17 support vehicles -- Volkswagen's "Dakar" crew embarked on its voyage across the Atlantic ocean to South America. The winning team of the past Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile will tackle the title defence project from 02 to 16 January 2010 by fielding five Volkswagen Race Touareg vehicles. To successfully master the challenge of the world's toughest rally Carlos Sainz, Giniel de Villiers and company will be supported on location by a service crew consisting of some 80 members. In Le Havre, France, five service trucks, three equipment trucks and two race trucks of the Volkswagen factory team set out on the longest part of the journey, the roughly four-week passage to Buenos Aires in Argentina. The cargo ship Grande Brasile that takes the equipment to the starting location was loaded the day before.
"For Volkswagen the preparation for the Dakar Rally entered its hot phase as early as at the end of September. Today the cargo loading and embarkation of the support crew marked the completion of another stage for the team," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "And of course every successful completion of these individual steps makes us look forward to the 'Dakar' in Argentina and Chile, which as the title defender we want to again decide in our favour, with even greater anticipation. Today, a major portion of the logistical effort was accomplished."
The Grande Brasile and its precious cargo: joint passage of all participants
Dakar Rally organiser A.S.O. (Amaury Sport Organisation) made it possible for all European participants to transport their material to South America by ship by centrally organising the voyage. The Grande Brasile carries a major portion of the material of the total of 373 participating teams in its bowels.
On 28 December - exactly 27 days after the Grande Brasile's departure - the teams will receive their trucks and other support vehicles again, including six Volkswagen Panamericana Multivans that will transport the Volkswagen crew through South America. For the roughly 80 team members work will then start on location: Immediately after clearing customs the support vehicles will be checked again. On 29 and 30 December they will undergo scrutineering, just like the actual rally vehicles. Every vehicle has to prove that the required modifications - from safety features all the way to sufficient water supply - were made. On 01 January when the starting signal is given at the ceremonial "Dakar" start the armada will embark on its tour of Argentina and Chile.