Volkswagen signs Kankkunen

Four-time World Rally Champion Juha Kankkunen, with co-driver Juha Repo, is set to make a Dakar Rally return in 2005 after signing a deal to drive with Volkswagen

Volkswagen signs Kankkunen

Kankkunen contested the classic cross-country event back in 1988 - his first and only participation in the event to date - and won it. The Finn has already completed his first test with Repo in the Race-Touareg and will compete in a number of rallies ahead of the Dakar Rally in January.

"During my first test in Turkey I was able to form my first impressions of both the team and the Race-Touareg," Kankkunen said. "It was a very good start to our relationship. I was pleasantly surprised just how well the Race-Touareg handles. We want to learn at the rally in Dubai and fight up at the front during the Dakar Rally."

Kris Nissen, Volkswagen Motorsport Director, added: "We are extremely proud and happy that such an experienced driver decided to join Volkswagen. With the strengthening of our excellent driver squad by the addition of a four-time world champion we have made another decisive step in our preparation for the 2005 Dakar Rally."

Volkswagen made its debut with the diesel prototype Race-Touareg in January at the Dakar Rally. Bruno Saby reached the finish in sixth position while Jutta Kleinschmidt gave the manufacturer the first stage victory.

Next year's event begins in Barcelona, Spain, on January 1 and concludes in Dakar, Senegal, on January 16.

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