Volkswagen confirm Dakar Rally squad
- 13th July 2007, 8:34am
Volkswagen has completed its squad for the 2008 Dakar Rally: Three-time German Rally Champion Dieter Depping (Germany) and co-driver Timo Gottschalk (Germany) drive the fourth Volkswagen factory entered Race Touareg in the desert classic at the start of January.
The two Germans line-up alongside team mates Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn (E/F), Giniel de Villiers/Dirk von Zitzewitz (RSA/D) and Mark Miller/Ralph Pitchford (USA/RSA). Also, Carlos Sousa (P) and co-driver Andy Schulz (D) compete in a Race Touareg prepared by the Lagos customer team.
"Dieter Depping and Timo Gottschalk fit perfectly in the team. Dieter has spooled off an enormous amount of test kilometres in the last few months with the Race Touareg, and the teamwork between with Timo works exceptionally well. The pair harmonised perfectly with one another in the Race-Truck during the ‘Dakar’ in 2007”, explains Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. "The signing of this German duo has enabled us to finalise the Volkswagen squad ahead of schedule. I think we have an excellent base with our strong driver/co-driver combinations for the next ‘Dakar’.”
The 2008 "Dakar” is the third start in the cross-country rally classic for Dieter Depping after the 40-year old driver from Northern Germany participated for Volkswagen in 2003. "I already feel extremely comfortable in the Volkswagen Race Touareg since I was in action during every test this year and was able to complete many valuable kilometres”, says Depping. "My priorities in the ‘Dakar’ are to make the finish, to achieve the best result possible and to support the Volkswagen team to the maximum in every aspect.”
Depping worked together with Timo Gottschalk for the first time in 1998. They contested the 2007 Dakar Rally together for Volkswagen in a Race-Truck. "Dieter and I have known each other for years and are already a well versed team”, explains the 32-year old Berliner, who was active as co-driver for the Austrian Andreas Aigner in the 2005 and 2006 World Rally Championships. "I’m relishing this new challenge. For me it’s actually all about perfecting the road book based navigation.”
Volkswagen is preparing for the 2008 Dakar Rally with the 290 hp five-cylinder 2.5 litre TDI diesel engine powered Race Touareg 2 with an extensive test programme, recently in Tunisia, and selected rally events. After the team occupied first and third positions with Carlos Sainz/Michel Périn and Carlos Sousa/Andreas Schulz in the Rallye Transibérico, the FIA Cross Country Rally World Cup season opener, the Moroccan Rally at the end of September is the next event planned. The UAE Desert Challenge in the United Arab Emirates at the end of October is seen as warm-up for the Dakar Rally.
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