History was made on several levels when the Volkswagen Factory
Driving team won the 2009 Dakar Rally. It was the first time that a
diesel-powered vehicle had won the Dakar, the first time VW
itself had won the famous endurance race, the very first time the team
posted a one-two finish and the first time ever that the Dakar Rally
was not held in Europe and Africa. A lot of firsts indeed, but that's
VW drivers Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz are South
African and German respectively. Their teammates Mark Miller and Ralph
Pitchford are American and South African respectively, making it the
first one-two finish for South Africa as well. Miller became the
highest finishing American to ever test the Dakar.
"It was just an incredible result for the Volkswagen team this year,
with Giniel and Dirk taking the historic first diesel-powered win,"
said Clark Campbell, Volkswagen of America Motorsport Manager. "All of
us here at Volkswagen of America are also especially proud of Mark and
Ralph's tremendous finish this year as well."
Team Volkswagen made use of a special Race Touareg 2 TDI which is
powered by a five-cylinder diesel turbo motor. It produces 280hp
(206kW) and about approximately 440 lbs.ft. of torque. US consumers
will get to test their own suburban rallying skills when the standard
six-cylinder Touareg TDI appears at US dealers this spring.
Because of geopolitical reasons and a terror threat it was decided
last year to move the rally to South America where competitors
experienced temperatures ranging from 104 degrees Fahrenheit (40
degrees Celcius) to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit (0 degrees Celcius).
The race started from the city of Buenos Aires in Argentina, went
across to Chile and ended back in Argentina. Teams were subjected to
varied terrain that encompassed hard stony ground, very high sand
dunes, extreme passages through water and scaling the Andes Mountains
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