Volkswagen will again seek to be the champion at next year's Dakar Rally and will be entering five Race Touaregs. VW won the rally last year with its Touareg rally concept, which is powered by a 2.5-litre TDI that outputs 276bhp. The car topped the timesheets in 10 of the 13 stages to claim a one-two finish by Giniel de Villiers and Dirk von Zitzewitz.
Mitsubishi had dominated the event in recent years but it withdrew from front-line rallying, including the WRC and Dakar, to reduce costs in the global financial crisis. No Dakar Rally was held in 2008 and it switched to South America last year for the first time, in an event dominated by Volkswagen.
Kris Nissen, Volkswagen motorsport director, says that the company will showcase its diesel technology at Dakar. He said that VW wants it to be known that Touareg is the fastest and most reliable diesel concept rally car in the world. Going up against VW are two Chinese manufacturers that aim to boost their profile on the world stage by competing in a frontline motorsport event.
Chery will enter its flagship Reely X5 SUV for the event, while Greatwall's challenger will be its best-selling Hover SUV. Details are still sketchy on what the Chinese companies will be bringing to the race. So far, we´ve gathered that Reely's X5 can tackle water hazards with a depth of more than 600mm and hills with a gradient of 60 percent. The Dakar Rally begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina on January 1.