Vw may leave Dakar Rally in favor of WRC image

According to some speculations and 2011 Dakar winner Nasser Al-Attiyah, Volkswagen is unlikely to compete for a fourth consecutive Dakar Rally title in 2012.

Nasser Al-Attiyah, who won Dakar this year and will drive for VW in the WRC in 2013, admitted the chances of him competing next January looked doubtful.

“It doesn’t look so possible now,” he said. “I won’t go there without my engineer and the same team. This is not sensible and I don’t think we will be able to do it.

“It’s a great shame, I really wanted to defend my title.”

The news will undoubtedly be welcomed by X-Raid, the team operated by Sven Quandt (of the Quandt family that owns BMW) which has campaigned off-road Bimmers and Minis at Dakar for the past several years, and which has come closest to defeating Volkswagen.

Unveiled on the eve of the Rally Sardinia, VW’s big chiefs announced the company would re-enter WRC in 2013 with a turbocharged, 300bhp four-wheel-drive rascal.

Volkswagen Motorsport has high hopes for its WRC Polo, and hopefully the team can draw on the success that VW experienced with rallying in the 1980s. The dry weight (sans fluids) will be the FIA-mandated 1200kg, while the blistered body accommodates wider tracks.

“The new Technical Regulations of the World Rally Championship are an ideal fit for Volkswagen’s philosophy with respect to the development of production vehicles,” Dr Hackenberg said. “Downsizing, high efficiency and reliability are top priorities for our customers.

“The timing of the WRC debut is optimal for Volkswagen. The big task of engineering a vehicle that is competitive and capable of winning at a large number of challenges holds great appeal for us.”