Volkswagen newsletter 2009-11-06

57 days until the 2010 Dakar Rally Volkswagen to field five Race Touareg vehicles at 2010 "Dakar" Wolfsburg (06 November 2009). It is truly a five-star line-up: Volkswagen will field five Race Touareg vehicles at the 2010 Dakar Rally in ...

57 days until the 2010 Dakar Rally

Volkswagen to field five Race Touareg vehicles at 2010 "Dakar"

Wolfsburg (06 November 2009). It is truly a five-star line-up: Volkswagen will field five Race Touareg vehicles at the 2010 Dakar Rally in Argentina and Chile. The Wolfsburg-based automobile manufacturer has signed the Brazilians Mauricio Neves and Clecio Maestrelli as another driver/co-driver team alongside the previously confirmed pairings Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D), Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) as well as Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D). The "factory" duos unanimously pursue one goal: to repeat the victory achieved in the 2009 Dakar Rally by the first diesel-powered automobile in the history of the tradition-steeped desert rally at the same venue. In January 2009 de Villiers/von Zitzewitz triumphed ahead of their team-mates Miller/Pitchford and thus made history: Volkswagen won the first "Dakar" held on South American soil with the 280-hp cross-country rally prototype.

"At the 2009 Dakar Rally we showed that the Race Touareg is not only the most reliable but also the fastest cross-country rally vehicle in the world and that the Volkswagen Group's TDI technology is superior to other diesel power concepts," says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "We want to successfully defend our title at the upcoming 'Dakar'. We have put together a powerful drivers' squad. I'm happy that by signing Mauricio Neves and Clecio Maestrelli we've been able to contract two local heroes from the South American continent."

Mauricio Neves: debut with the Race Touareg in Brazil

Mauricio Neves is already intimately familiar with the Volkswagen Race Touareg. The Brazilian driver made his competition debut in the "Dakar" prototype from Wolfsburg at the Rally dos Sertões at the end of June 2009. At the "little Dakar" in Brazil, which covered a distance of 4,500 kilometres, the 40-year-old Neves finished third in class behind the commanding one-two winners Sainz/Cruz and Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk and sixth overall. Clecio Maestrelli was signed as Neves' co-driver for the upcoming "Dakar".

"For Clecio and me, it is a great honour being able to contest the Dakar Rally with such a perfectly organized and professional team," says Mauricio Neves. "This makes a years-long dream come true. At the 'Sertões' I was able to experience the team's working style and the perfect handling of the Race Touareg, now I want to prove at the 'Dakar' that Volkswagen's trust in me is justified."

Mauricio Neves is the most successful driver in Brazilian cross-country rally racing: In his native Brazil he has clinched several drivers' titles. Clecio Maestrelli navigated Neves as his co-driver in most of these exploits.

-credit: vw

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About this article
Series Dakar
Drivers Mark Miller , Carlos Sainz , Giniel de Villiers , Nasser Al-Attiyah , Timo Gottschalk , Ralph Pitchford , Kris Nissen , Maurício Neves , Clecio Maestrelli , Lucas Cruz
Teams Volkswagen Motorsport