Volkswagen has won the Dakar Rally for the third time in succession
In front of millions of enthusiastic spectators, the new Race Touareg 3 scored a much celebrated one-two-three finish in the desert classic through Argentina and Chile. As a result, Volkswagen is the only manufacturer to have won the automobile category in the desert classic with diesel technology – and remains unbeaten on the South American continent thanks to TDI power. To complete the victory all three cars must still roll across the winner’s ramp on Sunday and midday local time in Buenos Aires.
Volkswagen claimed 12 of a possible 13 stage victories.
One of the Volkswagen teams led the rally from the start. The challenges: winding gravel roads, soft and deep desert sand in the Atacama Desert, navigationally demanding sections through labyrinth-like canyons and washed-out river beds as well as spectacular river crossings. All four Race Touareg 3 that started finished the rally in leading positions and continued the success story of reliability: Volkswagen has not recorded a single technically related retirement in cross country rallying in four years.
The four 310hp Race Touareg 3 spooled-off the approximate 9600 kilometres overall distance. The third generation Race Touareg, equipped with a 2.5 litre TDI engine and permanent four-wheel drive, completed its “Dakar” premiere successfully from the beginning. The power unit’s in-line 5-cylinder, bi-turbo design guaranteeing compact dimensions and low overall weight when compared to its competition, proved to be the best overall package, suiting both the WRC-like tracks and the extreme dune crossings. The TDI engine in the Race Touareg 3 is one of the most powerful and most efficient diesel power units in motorsport.
Nasser Al-Attiyah becomes the first Arab in the desert classic’s history to be presented with the big “Dakar” trophy. The Qatari won in his sixth “Dakar” competition, his second for Volkswagen, for the first time. His navigator Timo Gottschalk is only the fourth co-driver, after Gerd Löffelmann, Andreas Schulz and Dirk von Zitzewitz, to bring the “Dakar” victory to Germany – a premiere for the vehicle technology engineer living in Rheinsberg, Brandenburg.