VW updates ageing Dakar challenger

After five years of faithful service, Volkswagen is finally putting the Race Touareg 2 to rest, and releasing a new 3rd generation model to compete in next year’s Dakar Rally.

After reigning Dakar champion Carlos Sainz voiced concerns to his Volkswagen team about the alarmingly quick pace of Stephane Peterhansel‘s BMW X3 in this year’s edition of the endurance event, Volkswagen has finally released a new version of the car that has taken the last two Dakar wins, after spending 5 years beforehand trying to beat the dominant Mitsubishis.

The new Touareg features heavily revised aero, but aspects like the engine, suspension and chassis are being carried over from the old model.

“The evolution of the vehicle into the Race Touareg 3 represents the next logical step we’re taking towards our big aim of achieving the hat-trick at the Dakar Rally,” explained VW Motorsport Director Kris Nissen. “With new aerodynamics this Race Touareg will look even more spectacular than before. Its core is well proven because we continue to bank on the consistently optimised technology package that has been giving the Race Touareg first-rate performance and maximum reliability.”

Sainz and Nasser Al-Attiyah will take two of the four Touaregs committed to the 2011 Dakar, and will use the Silk Way Rally in Russia during September as the warm-up event for the new car.