2010 Dakar Rally: more desert, more off-road, more thrill Wolfsburg (05 June 2009). From Buenos Aires to Antofagasta and back: For its "title defence" project, Volkswagen anticipates a tougher Dakar Rally than ever before. The approximate track...
2010 Dakar Rally: more desert, more off-road, more thrill
Wolfsburg (05 June 2009). From Buenos Aires to Antofagasta and back: For its "title defence" project, Volkswagen anticipates a tougher Dakar Rally than ever before. The approximate track profile of the legendary off-road marathon which the organiser A.S.O. announced in advance will contain more desert and off-road parts -- and thus more challenges for the drivers, co-drivers and technology. In January 2010, the roughly 8,500-kilometre route will cover a clearly longer, seven-stage distance through Chile, lead far up into the north of Bolivia and feature a significantly larger number of kilometres through the world's most arid region, the Atacama desert.
After the historic victory this year - Volkswagen was the first manufacturer to win with a diesel-powered car - the Wolfsburg brand will contest the 2010 event with four Race Touareg vehicles and the newly formed pairings Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz Senra (E/E) and Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) as well as Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA), the duos that ran together before.
"We welcome the clearly changed route of the next Dakar Rally that is even more demanding than the last one. The route will take our drivers and co-drivers through many new regions which are impressive even on paper. In addition, there will be difficult challenges such as the two-time crossing of the Andes which we remember from last year," said Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "Again, the crucial factor will be to prevail against the rally itself first, and we're taking on this challenge."
Rough and trying terrain in Argentina and Chile
Volkswagen driver Giniel de Villiers, who was the first African to decide the "Dakar" in his favour this year, welcomes the new route. "In 2010, we will experience the toughest stages of the rally on the third day - clearly earlier than last year. The route promises excitement galore: two crossings of the Andes, the Atacama desert as well as the route south of it, have the potential for lots of surprises," said the 37-year-old. His co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz added, "In 2010, we'll be in for an even more intense experience of everything that makes the Dakar Rally special. This requires high levels of driving and navigation skills but also makes exacting demands on the material."
Loop across 8,500 kilometres with new stage destinations
The 2010 Dakar Rally that will see its ceremonial start on New Year's Day and finish in Buenos Aires on 16 January will again lead through Argentina and Chile, cross the Andes twice and - on a total of five legs - run through the towering dunes of the notorious Atacama desert. The loop covering about 8,500 kilometres (about 5,200 of which are special stages) will now run anti-clockwise through the Argentine rally mecca of Cordoba, across the "pinnacle stage" of the last "Dakar" between La Rioja and Fiambala and across the Andes at extremely high altitudes. Copiapo in Chile will again be a stage finish, and the town of Antofagasta will be on the schedule for the first time. The 2010 "Dakar's" northern-most point will be in Iqueque. From there the route will again lead through Antofagasta, where the rally's only rest day is scheduled for 09 January, and Copiapo to La Serena and Chile's capital Santiago de Chile. In Argentina, after the second crossing of the Andes, the destinations San Juan, San Rafael and Santa Rosa are on the agenda before the winners will be celebrated in Buenos Aires on 17 January.
Two rallies in preparation of the highlight in January
Volkswagen is preparing for the Dakar Rally by contesting two other rallies: At the end of June, the Wolfsburg automobile manufacturer will compete in the Rallye dos Sertões in Brazil (23 June-04 July), which covers a total of ten legs and serves as very good simulation of the rough gravel legs of the "Dakar" in the pampas, with three Volkswagen Race Tourag 2 vehicles. At the inaugural event of the Silk Way Rallye (05-13 September) Volkswagen will be among the contenders as well: The cross-country rally in the orient staged by "Dakar" organiser A.S.O. will lead through unknown territory in Russia, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan.