Volkswagen to run amok at Dakar

Volkswagen Pickup Concept

Well, Volkswagen to run Amarok at Dakar, to be precise. Volkswagen’s new pickup will be used as the official support and fleet vehicle of the 2010 Dakar Rally (1-17 January).

Continuing to suffer something of an identity crisis the Dakar will again be held in South America (Argentina and Chile), starting and ending in Buenos Aires. Twenty Amarok will be used to ferry officials around during the rally, while a further fifteen will be used for press and general shuttle duties.

Volkswagen, of course, have a strong recent history with the Dakar Rally. Earlier this year VW fielded a strong three car team running Touaregs. South African driver Giniel de Villiers won the event, with the Touareg of American Mark Miller finishing in second. Former WRC champion Carlos Sainz was leading the event before suffering an unfortunate crash that saw him retire from the race.

The support act is a sort of homecoming for the Amarok which will be built at Volkswagen’s Pacheco plant near Buenos Aires. Shortly after the Dakar the newest addition to Volkswagen’s commerical range will be launched in South America, followed by Europe.

The Pickup concept was seen in Australia at the Melbourne International Motor Show in February and, according to previous reports, the Amarok is due in local showrooms late next year, as well.

Volkswagen Pickup Concept

Volkswagen Amarok will be Official Support Vehicle for Dakar Rally

  • 35 pickups to be used in the world’s toughest rally
  • Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is the “Official Supplier” to the A.S.O.

Hannover, 16th November 2009. It is durable, robust and can tackle any road, no matter how tricky: the Volkswagen Amarok will have to prove those claims from January 2010 during the world’s toughest rally. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is the “Official Supplier” to the Dakar Rally and a partner to the organiser, the Amaury Sport Organisation (A.S.O.). The new pickup from Volkswagen will be the Support Vehicle for the rally. The organiser is to use 20 Amarok, with a further 15 to be used as press and shuttle vehicles.

From 1st to 17th January 2010, the Dakar Rally will also see four teams from Volkswagen Motorsport as well as many other teams travelling 9,000 km through Argentina and Chile. The rally starts and finishes in Buenos Aires.

The Amarok will undergo an endurance test during the Dakar Rally, because it will have to handle all the challenges of the demanding stages: as the organiser’s vehicle to reconnoitre the rally stages, as a press vehicle and as a shuttle for the Volkswagen Motorsport team.

Four of the Volkswagen Amarok from the A.S.O. fleet will get additional off-road conversions for the trip, and four Panamericana multivans will also be used.

“We are pleased to be able to use the Volkswagen Amarok as our Support Vehicle, because the Dakar Rally demands the highest levels of technical perfection, reliability and endurance – from our Race Touareg as much as from the support vehicles. The Amarok is exactly the right vehicle for our team”, explains Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director.

“The Volkswagen Amarok is Volkswagen’s answer to the pickup and on the Dakar Rally – one of the last great adventures for mankind – it will have the chance to show what it’s made of and to demonstrate its flexibility and durability”, adds Stephan Schaller, CEO of Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles.

“Moreover, the Volkswagen Amarok is built in Argentina and South America is one of the most important markets for this product, so taking part in the 2010 Dakar Rally was an absolute must for us”, stresses Schaller.

The Volkswagen Amarok will be seen at the Dakar Rally in Argentina for the first time and will then be launched initially in South American markets, followed by Europe. Volkswagen Commercial Vehicles is entering a new vehicle sector.