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Volkswagen welcomes 2006 Dakar Rally route

Wolfsburg (12th May 2005). The Volkswagen works drivers Jutta Kleinschmidt, Bruno Saby and Giniel de Villiers and also Motorsport Director Kris Nissen responded extremely positively to the first details about the 2006 Dakar Rally.
“An interesting route and a beautiful venue for the start”, they unanimously agree.

As the organiser A.S.O. released on Wednesday in Paris, the 28th Dakar Rally starts for the first time from Portugal’s capital Lisbon on 31st December 2005, the finish is reached on 15th January 2006 in Dakar, Senegal. Volkswagen again plans to enter four Race-Touareg prototypes. With Jutta Kleinschmidt/Fabrizia Pons (D/I), Bruno Saby/Michel Périn (F/F) and the new signings Giniel de Villiers/Tina Thörner (ZA/S) three driver pairs are already confirmed.

"We can look forward to a more traditional ‘Dakar’ route in 2006”, explains Volkswagen works driver Jutta Kleinschmidt, the 2001 winner. In spite of thoughts to the contrary, I’m particularly pleased that the rally again ends in Dakar. We can expect a varied route through Morocco, Mauritania and Mali before reaching the finish. For the first time since 1996 the route again includes Guinea – for the majority, new terrain.”
Kleinschmidt’s team mate Bruno Saby also welcomed the choice of route. "It’s fantastic to start in Lisbon for the first time. I expect that the level of enthusiasm shown by the fans will be just as high as in Barcelona in 2005”, says the former ‘Dakar’ winner, who scored the Volkswagen Race-Touareg prototype’s first victory at the Rally Por Las Pampas in South America and who currently leads the Cross Country World Cup.
For the Volkswagen works team, which prepares itself for the 2006 ‘Dakar’ by competing in selected events of the World Cup, comprised of six rounds, the rally’s timetable brings logistic and organisational advantages. "In spite of the long journey to Lisbon for the large armada of vehicles every team member will be able to spend Christmas with their families”, says Volkswagen Motorsport Director Kris Nissen.
At the 2005 Dakar Rally, Volkswagen occupied third and fifth positions with Kleinschmidt/Pons and Saby/Périn. As a result, Volkswagen celebrated the first podium position for a diesel powered vehicle. The Race-Touareg also scored four stage victories and led the overall classification for four days. "Our preparations for the 2006 Dakar Rally are already in full swing”, mentions Kris Nissen. "With the development of the Race-Touareg we are absolutely on schedule. We are convinced that we will be even more competitive at the next ‘Dakar’.

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