Volkswagen made motorsport history by winning the 2009 Dakar Rally with its clean diesel powered Race Touareg TDI’s. This year’s Dakar Rally, which made its debut in South America, marked the first victory ever for a diesel-powered vehicle in the automobile class in the Rally’s thirty year history. Volkswagen factory driver and off-road motorsport veteran, Mark Miller, also made history as the highest finishing American that has ever raced in the Dakar Rally.
The 2009 Dakar Rally was won by the Volkswagen Factory driving team of South African-German duo Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz, while their Volkswagen team mates Mark Miller and Ralph Pitchford finished the rally in second place.
“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. Mark is a key person in our Motorsport efforts here in North America, and his finish as the highest American driver ever to race the Dakar is a testament to his driving skills, physical and mental fitness, and his passion for off-road racing. His result in this year’s Dakar further demonstrates his consistency and ability to finish on the podium in these grueling off-road races.”
For the first time in its thirty year history the Dakar Rally made its debut in South America. The more than 9,000 kilometer course was one of toughest and most challenging in the storied history of the Rally. The course started and finished in Buenos Aires, Argentina and traveled through Argentina and Chile on terrain that included everything from some of the highest sand dune fields on earth, extreme passages through water, and hard stony ground to traversing the Andes Mountains. If the terrain wasn’t challenging enough, the Volkswagen Motorsport team also had to combat temperature extremes that ranged from 104 degrees Fahrenheit to below 32 degrees Fahrenheit.
The clean diesel Race Touareg 2 TDI’s are powered by a five-cylinder turbo-charged diesel engine that produces 280 horsepower and approximately 440 lbs.ft. of torque. The cross-country rally prototype was developed and engineered to master the challenges of the Dakar Rally. Volkswagen’s Touareg 2 is known around the world as one of the most tenacious sport utility vehicles available on the market, and the Race version takes it to the next level. U.S. consumers can look forward to a six-cylinder clean diesel TDI version of the Touareg 2 to hit dealer showrooms this Spring.