Volkswagen has won the legendary Dakar Rally for the second time in succession with a dominant 1-2-3 finish. The Volkswagen crews and their TDI-powered Race Touareg prototypes celebrated one-two-three on the podium at the finish of the toughest challenge in motorsport.
In the process, the Spanish pairing of Carlos Sainz/Lucas Cruz triumphed by only 2 minutes 12 seconds ahead of teammates Nasser Al-Attiyah/Timo Gottschalk (Q/D) in a thrilling finale on the closing 202km sprint on the 14th and final rally day.
Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/ZA) claimed third position, while last year’s winners Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (ZA/D) finished seventh. Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen: “Three weeks ago a highly motivated Volkswagen team came with the goal of defending the Dakar title won last year. Volkswagen has achieved something historical with this one-two-three. We are not only unbeaten in South America, we are also the only manufacturer to have won the world’s hardest rally with diesel technology.”
The Wolfsburg-based brand remains the only manufacturer to have won the car category of the Dakar Rally with diesel power, with TDI technology previously dominant in 2009. In addition to the efficiency of the Volkswagen Group’s diesel direct-injection technology, the Race Touaregs’ reliability was the key to the 2010 Dakar victory. Despite the extreme demands, the powerful 300hp Race Touareg proved to be not only the most robust, but also one of the fastest vehicles, winning seven of the 14 stage victories, leading for 11 days. With a fierce fight underway, two stage wins went to Sainz/Cruz, four to Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk, one to Miller/Pitchford The result of the rally kept observers and fans alike on tenterhooks up to the finish line. Sainz/Cruz, Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk and Miller/Pitchford remained in this order from the fifth stage of the rally. And yet any one of them could have won. At no point did any crew have an unassailable lead. In a strong final burst, Al-Attiyah/Gottschalk edged closer to Sainz, repeatedly taking chunks from their lead and, in doing so, staged an open and hard duel for the win.
The Qatari/German duo made up ground specifically in the dune sections – which once again formed one of the Dakar’s core elements – while the Spanish pairing of Sainz/Cruz controlled proceedings on the fast, twisty gravel sections.
In addition to varied stages across soft, powder-like sand and through towering and endless dune fields of the Atacama Desert in northern Chile, there were also gravel sections and tracks through enormous boulder fields. The multi-faceted test also included two Andes crossings, passages through the world’s driest desert, as well as parts of the legendary Pampa, yet it was mastered by the Race Touaregs.
At least one Race Touareg was always in the top-three of each stage. At the finish, 27 of a possible 42 top-three positions on the 14 stages went to VW.
For the new Dakar champions, Carlos Sainz and Lucas Cruz, the winning streak continued in front of millions of fans lining the stages in Argentina and Chile. As a newly formed duo in the Race Touareg, the Spanish pair remained unbeaten in their third competition together and secured a new record in Dakar history. Never before have two Spaniards won the legendary desert rally’s automobile category. Sainz/Cruz had previously won the Rallye dos Sertões as well as the Silk Way Rally in 2009. The Volkswagen statistics in cross-country rallying make equally impressive reading – unbeaten since January 2009 and its second Dakar triumph since 2009 continues the Volkswagen Group’s success story with TDI technology.
After Audi’s Le Mans victories between 2006 and 2008 and winning the World Touring Car Championship with SEAT in 2008 and 2009, Volkswagen has been successful at the Dakar in 2009 and 2010 thanks to TDI Power.
|1||Sainz / Cruz (E / E)||Volkswagen Race Touareg 2|
|2||Al-Attiyah / Gottschalk (Q / D)||Volkswagen Race Touareg 2|
|3||Miller / Pitchford (USA / ZA)||Volkswagen Race Touareg 2|
|4||Peterhansel / Cottret (F / F)||BMW X3 CC|
|5||Chicherit / Thörner (F / S)||BMW X3 CC|
|6||Sousa / Baumel (P / F)||Mitsubishi Racing Lancer|
|7||de Villiers / von Zitzewitz (ZA / D)||Volkswagen Race Touareg 2|
|8||Gordon / Grider (USA / USA)||Hummer|
|9||Terranova / Maimon (RA / F)||Mitsubishi Racing Lancer|
|10||Spinelli / Palmeiro (BR / P)||Mitsubishi Racing Lancer|