Monday, January 19, 2009


The Dakar is a grueling 2 weeks long cross continent race that is run by both Factory sponsored professionals and individual privateers. It is usually run in Africa, but this year marks the 1st year it was run in South America. It also marks the 1st year that is was won by a diesel powered vehicle. That TDI machine was non other than the VW Race Touareg 2, and not only 1st place, but second place as well! The 15 stage race across more than 9,600km of rough terrain proved to be a tough one indeed. VW's main rival Mitsubishi started the race with 4 cars, and ended it with only one. BMW looked strong from the start with their lead driver Nasser Al-Attiyah paving the way with a strong lead, but in stage 6 he missed several waypoints by going around the dunes and was hence disqualified. VW would've had a 1-2-3 domination of this year's Dakar if it were not for a poorly marked dry river bed that swallowed the dominating leader VW's Carlos Sainz in stage 12. He and his co-driver fell 13 feet into a waddy and landed on their roof. Remarkably the VW was still viable but the crash left co-driver Michel Perin with a broken shoulder and therefore their race was over.

The lead spot then fell to VW's Giniel De Villiers and second to VW's Mark Miller with Robby Gordon in his Corvette powered Hummer in third, but well over an hour and a half behind the 2 lead VW's while the remaining VW driver Dieter Depping finished in the top ten at 6th place overall. There were many ups and downs throughout the 2 week race across some amazing terrain of Argentina and Chille. If you missed the action check out the highlights on the Dakar site in the video section!

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