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Volkswagen starts the 2007 Dakar Rally in January with a new four-valve TDI-engine. The 2.5 litre five-cylinder in-line diesel engine in the Race Touareg 2 is equipped with a completely newly developed cylinder head, which helps to increase the power output to 285 hp and push the maximum torque over 600 Nm.

The response characteristics of the two-stage forced induction Turbo-Diesel were also noticeably improved for the demanding desert event.

"The new version of the engine gives the Race Touareg even more performance for the Dakar Rally, available to the drivers in both fast and slow track sections alike”, explains Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen ahead of the Volkswagen Press Conference at the Motor Show in Essen. "Adding to this is the incredible efficiency of our innovative TDI-Technology. We aim to be the first manufacturer to win the Dakar Rally with a diesel powered vehicle.”
 
Logical engine development for highest "Dakar” demands
 
During a series of dynamometer runs, intensive tests and its first competitive outing the newest version of the engine has already proven its performance and reliability. Because of the 39 millimetre diameter intake-air restrictor, stipulated by the regulations, the absolute power only climbs by approximately 10 hp. However, the new and improved cylinder-head architecture allows a superior gas flow rate, which improves the power and initial response throughout the rev range. The torque delivered by the engine climbs correspondingly to over 600 Nm.
 
The induction and exhaust tracts on the four-valve engine differ from its predecessor in that they are no longer mounted on one side of the engine, but opposite one another. "In spite of the greater power output the engine is actually more thermally efficient than before”, emphasises Donatus Wichelhaus is responsible for the engine development Volkswagen factory driver Carlos Sainz claimed three stage victories during the UAE Desert Challenge with the four-valve power unit. "The engine not only produces more power, but has benefited significantly in the areas of response and drivability. This will help us in the ever changing conditions encountered during the Dakar Rally”; says the two-time Rally World Champion.
 
Volkswagen with four Race Touareg prototypes at "Dakar” start
 
When the 29th running of the Dakar Rally starts on 6 January in Lisbon, Portugal, four Race Touareg cars clad in the blue Red Bull Design will roll across the ramp. The rally prototypes are driven by South African Giniel de Villiers – second in the 2006 "Dakar” – with his German co-driver Dirk von Zitzewitz, by Spaniard Carlos Sainz with his French co-driver Michel Périn, by the four-time "Dakar” winner Ari Vatanen from Finland with his Italian female co-driver Fabrizia Pons and the US-American Mark Miller, fifth in last year’s "Dakar”, with co-driver Ralph Pitchford from South Africa. After almost 9,000 kilometres, the finish is in Dakar, the capital of Senegal, on 21 January.

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