Volkswagen has won the legendary Dakar Rally for the second year in a row
The Volkswagen duos and their TDI-powered Race Touareg prototypes celebrated a one-two-three podium lockout at the finish of the toughest challenge in motorsport.
Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) triumphed by 2 minutes 12 seconds ahead of his team mates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) in a thrilling finale on the closing 202-kilometre sprint on the 14th and final rally day. Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) claimed third position. Last year’s winners Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) finished seventh.
Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen explains: "Three weeks ago a highly motivated Volkswagen team came with the goal of successfully defending the ‘Dakar’ title won last year. Volkswagen has achieved something historical with this one-two-three. We are not only unbeaten in South America, we are also the only manufacturer to have won the world’s hardest rally up to now with diesel technology. The Volkswagen drivers fought amongst themselves for victory all the way to the chequered flag – sometimes by hard but fair means. This is exactly how we imagine motorsport to be. My congratulations therefore go to every Volkswagen duo who would all have been worthy winners.”
The Wolfsburg based brand remains the only manufacturer to have won the car category of the Dakar Rally with diesel power. TDI technology was already dominant in 2009 in Argentina and Chile. Despite the extreme demands the powerful 300hp Race Touareg proved to be not only the most robust, but also the fastest vehicle: Seven of 14 possible stage victories and eleven days in the lead were credited to the four-wheel drive racers from Wolfsburg.
Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz, Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford led in this order since the fifth Dakar Rally stage. However, at no point did any driver duo have an unassailable lead. In a strong final burst Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk edged ever closer, repeatedly taking seconds from their Volkswagen team mates Sainz/Cruz and, in doing so, staged an open and hard but fair duel for the leading position. The Qatari/German duo made up ground specifically in the dune sections – which once again formed one of the "Dakar’s” core elements – while the Spanish duo Sainz/Cruz controlled proceedings on the fast, twisty gravel sections.
As varied as the fight in the overall standings was – two stage wins went to Sainz/Cruz, four to Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk, one to Miller/Pitchford. In addition to the varied stages across soft, in part powder-like sand and through towering and endless dune fields of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile there were also gravel sections and tracks through enormous boulder fields on the agenda.
The multi-faceted acid test with its terrain changing several times a day, two Andes crossings, passages through the world’s driest desert, the Atacama, as well as parts of the legendary Pampa was mastered by the Volkswagen Race Touareg. One Race Touareg was always found in the top-three of each stage at the finish, 27 of a possible 42 top-three positions on the 14 stages went to Wolfsburg.
Pos.; Team; Vehicle; Leg 14; Total time
1 Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz (E/E) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 20m 18s (2) 47h 10m 00s
2 Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 19m 42s (1) + 2m 12s
3 Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 21m 21s (5) + 32m 51s
4 Stéphane Peterhansel/Jean-P. Cottret (F/F) BMW X3 CC 1h 20m 50s (4) + 2h 17m 21s
5 Guerlain Chicherit/Tina Thörner (F/S) BMW X3 CC 1h 20m 25s (3) + 4h 02m 49s
6 Carlos Sousa/Matthieu Baumel (P/F) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer 1h 25m 31s (15) + 4h 31m 45s
7 Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) Volkswagen Race Touareg 2 1h 21m 23s (6) + 5h 10m 19s
8 Robby Gordon/Andy Grider (USA/USA) Hummer 1h 21m 40s (7) + 6h 02m 24s
9 Orlando Terranova/Pascal Maimon (RA/F) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer 1h 22m 10s (8) + 6h 04m 47s
10 Guilherme Spinelli/Filipe Palmeiro (BR/P) Mitsubishi Racing Lancer 1h 24m 50s (13) + 6h 13m 41s